12. May 2021 | Magazine:

Working While Studying Aaron Bongartz from Students@Work helps with labor law issues

Always available despite Corona: Employees from the Study Service Centre share their experiences since the start of the Corona pandemic in a series of interviews. Today, Aaron Bongartz from Students@Work talks about how he helps with employment law issues while working part-time and how he can still provide personal counseling for students while working from his home office.

What are your responsibilities in the area of service and counseling at TU Braunschweig?

Aaron Bongartz helps with employment law issues at the part-time job. Picture credits: Aaron Bongartz

I work for the counseling service “Students@Work” in the Study Service Centre (SC), which is offered by the university information office of the trade unions and by the cooperation center universities – trade unions. In this context, I support students in matters of labor law, i.e. help with questions about, for example, part-time jobs, employment contracts and legal regulations, or similar concerns.

How has your day-to-day work changed since the Corona pandemic?

Since the SC has been closed to the public in the wake of the pandemic, I have been working from home. Basically, I can be reached all day via our mail address info@hib-braunschweig.de. In some cases I can help directly by mail with a problem, if there is a need to talk, an appointment can be made for a phone call. The latter is very often the case.

Does the accessibility and the contact to students work despite the contact ban in the Study Service Centre?

Of course, personal contact is also limited for me due to the contact ban. Ultimately, this means that face-to-face advising cannot take place on Thursdays from 3 to 5 pm. I can therefore only offer students personal counseling via e-mail. Through this contact, an appointment for a phone call can be arranged individually. Since the topic or problem situation is often very complex, a personal exchange is always better. In conversation, I can better grasp the context and advise and help more comprehensively.

By the way: Students@work counseling can also help with problems such as dismissal or short-time work that arise in the course of the measures to combat the pandemic. But again, face-to-face meetings are always better for finding solutions to what are usually individual issues.

What did you take away from the current situation? Were there any advantages or learning effects?

The current situation means that we are more dependent than ever on digital equipment. In most cases, this is definitely possible and given the private technical possibilities. What is also noticeable, however, is that there are definitely people with low incomes who are thus shimmying from month to month and can barely finance their studies. This group of people in particular is dependent on help. This shows that employee issues can also be of interest to students. Especially in these times it is important to know your rights as an employee.

The questions were asked by Janina Ahrendt from the Student Service Center.