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Student assistants


(currently forwards to )

Contact person: Karl Wolff


If you have conflicts in the context of your work as a student assistant, questions about general labour law issues, questions about the TVStud movement or questions about trade union issues, this unit offers support. I don't offer legal advice, please refer to the DGB Campus Office or the AStA advice centres. Consultation hours can be arranged on request; a fixed consultation hour is not planned.

The university policy goal of the department is to improve the working conditions of student employees. To this end, it cooperates closely with the TVStud movement, the DGB university group, trade unions and the DGB Campus Office.


The need for this unit arises from the legal situation of student employment relationships at German universities. In Hesse, student assistants are excluded from all company representation by the Hessian Staff Representation Act (HPVG). In the HPVG §4, para. 5(3) they are explicitly not understood as employees in the sense of the law.

This results in an exclusion from the internal representation of employees' interests. In concrete terms, this means that the staff council is not responsible for matters concerning student assistants. Accordingly, there is currently no central point of contact for questions of labour law or for conflicts in connection with employment. In the case of conflicts with superiors, student assistants are therefore dependent on their individual ability to deal with conflicts. This is very limited due to the precarious working conditions, as every conflict can affect the continued employment of the short-term fixed-term contracts. In addition, student assistants are often in a professor:in-student:in relationship with their supervisors, which is why evaluations of academic performance can also be influenced by conflicts. There is thus a double asymmetry of power here, which, according to a recent study, not infrequently tempts student assistants to circumvent labour law provisions. Thus, unpaid overtime, working off sick leave or working without pay are not uncommon.

Further Information:

Employment contracts are also usually checked for legality by the staff council prior to recruitment. This does not happen with student assistants for the reasons mentioned above. It is not uncommon for this to result in employment as a student assistant in the administrative area, for example, administration of departments, secretarial work, etc. This is a circumvention of applicable collective bargaining law! These activities do not fall under the remit of student assistants, whose work must always be related to academic work. Administrative positions are regular positions in the service sector and must be paid according to the collective agreement and classified accordingly. Student assistants are thus exploited as cheap labour. Unlike other academic or administrative jobs at German universities, student assistants are not covered by collective agreements, as both the Länder and the universities refuse to negotiate a collective agreement for student assistants with the trade unions.

Further Information:

Further Information