Equal opportunities

Bern University of Applied Sciences views equal opportunities as an important aspect of its corporate culture.

At BFH, we strive to provide equal opportunities for men and women and we are committed to diversity. We take appropriate measures to promote equal opportunities for our staff and students, regardless of gender, origin or any disability. We also promote balance between study, work and family.

More information

Equal opportunities for men and women

Bern University of Applied Sciences promotes true gender equality and strives to ensure that men and women are equally represented at all levels of the organisational structure and in all roles.

The promotion of true gender equality is governed by the Personnel Act (PG Art. 4 lit. f) and the Personnel Ordinance (PV Art. 3) of the Canton of Bern, and the Law (FaG Art. 14) and Ordinance (FaV Art. 9) of the Bern University of Applied Sciences. The types of measures to be taken in order to achieve gender equality at BFH are set out in the BFH statutes (FaSt Art. 44) and in the regulations governing equal opportunities for men and women at BFH (GFMR).

The current ‘Equal opportunities action plan’ contains measures to achieve true gender equality at BFH.

We use gender-neutral language. Reality is shaped by the language we use. If we want our texts to address both men and women, then our words need to reflect that; we therefore use male and female or gender-neutral forms.
 
Guidelines on gender-fair language at BFH help students and staff to use gender-neutral language.

Other good examples of useful wording:

Balancing work and family life

BFH Bern University of Applied Sciences promotes balance between work and family life. We offer solutions for those taking on care duties.

Achieving a balance is a concern for all staff with care responsibilities – whether it be for parents, a sick partner, or for healthy or sick children. As an employer, we want to make it easier for our staff to balance work and care responsibilities. BFH offers various solutions to the wide range of support needs that may arise as a result of care duties.

Everyone pursuing a career thinks about how to combine professional life with private life. With children in the picture, this becomes a real balancing act and a carefully constructed work-life balance can become unstable. Managers need to manage this balancing act from two perspectives. On the one hand, even those holding senior positions need to balance their professional and family/private lives. On the other hand, they also need to address their employees’ need to achieve a good work-life balance. They are responsible for working conditions and play a leading role in creating a good working environment. They need to act as role models and set an example of how employees can handle the dual challenge of professional and family life.

The brochure ‘Familienfreundlichkeit an Hochschulen’ (‘Family friendliness at universities’) provides suggestions for an HR policy focussed on achieving balance at universities and highlights the legal background.

A limited number of nursery places are available to BFH staff and students. If you’d like to take advantage of this offer, the relevant documents are on the BFH intranet. The fees are based on your income and are in line with the cantonal rates described in the Verordnung über die Angebote der sozialen Integration (Decree on Social Integration Offer ASIV) issued by the Canton of Bern.
 
You can apply for a nursery place using the online form on the BFH intranet. If you’re a new student or member of staff and don’t have access to the intranet, please contact Corinne Badertscher. BFH cannot guarantee the availability of nursery places but is pleased to be able to contribute towards overcoming care difficulties by offering these places.

Parental leave

Mothers are entitled to 16 weeks’ paid maternity leave on full pay. Fathers and adoptive parents receive 10 days of paid leave. Upon request, mothers and fathers may take up to six months of unpaid leave, provided that day-to-day operations can be maintained.

Reduced working hours following birth or adoption

Following the birth or adoption of a child, staff are entitled to up to a 20% reduction in working hours in their role, on request, provided that there are no significant organisational or operational reasons that prevent this. The level of employment must not fall below 60% as a result.
Reductions of more than 20%, or reductions below the minimum level of 60% employment specified in Art. 60c, can also be agreed with the manager’s consent.

Current demographic trends mean that an increasing number of people in work are also caring for relatives. Unlike providing childcare, caring for older people and other dependent relatives cannot easily be planned for and is associated with a greater mental burden.
 
Staff at Bern University of Applied Sciences who are affected by this issue can request up to four working days of paid leave per year in the event of the sudden illness of a close relative, in order to arrange or ensure urgent care (Art. 156 para. 1(a) in conjunction with para. 3 PV).

Sexual harassment

Members of BFH treat each other with respect. Sexual harassment in the workplace or study environment will not be tolerated at BFH. Those responsible for harassment will face internal sanctions.

Sexual harassment in the workplace and study environment has a detrimental effect on a person’s dignity and well-being. It hinders equal opportunities in work and study, and can affect the person’s work performance, as well as endangering their employment or the completion of their studies. Those affected by sexual harassment will receive advice and support from a trusted person.

What should you do in the event of sexual harassment?

If you think you or someone you know is affected, or if you are not sure whether behaviour constitutes sexual harassment, the designated points of contact at BFH can help.

A specially trained external contact person is available to offer advice and support to victims of sexual harassment and third parties who are aware of it.

You can also contact an advisor or call the conciliation board.

Members of BFH can find further information on sexual harassment and details of the relevant contacts within BFH on the intranet.

Disability – accessibility

Bern University of Applied Sciences promotes equal opportunities for people with a disability or chronic illness. For this reason, we strive to ensure that students and staff with a disability do not face any obstacles in their everyday life.

The special needs of people with disabilities vary greatly from person to person, so we try to provide individual solutions and assistance. We aim to remove barriers for those with reduced mobility, be sensitive when dealing with mental and chronic illnesses, and to compensate for any disadvantages during your studies arising from a disability.

Contact

If you have any questions regarding studying with a disability at BFH, please contact Marils Zbinden. She will be able to provide details of the relevant points of contact.

On the platform swissuniability.ch you will find additional information on barrier-free studies at the university.