For the safety of the mother: what does maternity protection cover?

For the safety of the mother: maternity protection

May I work during pregnancy? How do I finance the time right after birth? Can my employer my pregnancy […]

May I work during pregnancy? How do I finance the time right after birth? Can my employer doubt my pregnancy? And what happens if he quit me shortly before birth? Questions like these are buzzing through many pregnant women. Fortunately, there are specific rules for each situation, which are laid down in the Maternity Protection Act (MuSchG). As an expectant mother, you should be aware of and claim your rights. We therefore inform you about everything there is to know about maternity protection.

Purpose of maternity protection

As the name implies, “Maternity Protection at Work, in Education and Studies”, the regulations provide the best possible health protection for breastfeeding and pregnant women and girls. The aim of the law is also to create equal rights between men and women in the labor market. Women should not have a disadvantage in their job just because they are pregnant. The protection against dismissal before and after birth and the financial support from the state mean that mothers are not forced to make their living for the betterment of their baby. In addition, the prohibition of employment secures the protection of unborn life. Overall maternity protection offers working women more opportunities and rights and regulates the employment relationship of mothers before and after pregnancy.

Protection “before” and “after” birth: what does that mean??

The maternity protection depends on the calculated date of birth. Unlike the parental leave, he starts even before the baby is born. Six weeks before the expected date of birth, every woman receives maternity leave and retires until eight weeks after the baby has seen the light of day. Now parents have the opportunity to go for parental leave for three years. This must be requested seven weeks before it starts, ie during maternity leave. During parental leave, the family receives financial support in the form of parental allowance. Here you will learn everything about the parental leave and how the regulation has changed especially for fathers!

Of course, the birth usually deviates from the calculated date. Is less time available if the child is born a few days earlier? No, of course, the maternity after the birth, at the time you lost is extended. An exception, however, is a medically recognized premature birth. This is the case, for example, if the child’s birth weight is less than 2500 grams. The maternity protection period is automatically extended by 4 weeks after birth. In addition, there are other exceptions where maternity protection can be extended …

What happens at a ….

… multiple births?

Maternity protection before birth does not differ for twins or triplets from the regular period. However, as with premature birth, the period of maternity protection after birth is 12 weeks. Frequently, a Mehlings pregnancy is also accompanied by a spring birth. In this case, you have the opportunity to make use of an outpatient and mobile request. This should support the development of the children. It’s best to contact the youth welfare office in your area.

… disability of the child?

If your child is born with a physical or mental disability, maternity protection will not be automatically extended. But you have the right to apply for an extension at the health insurance. Most maternity leave is then extended to 12 weeks, as the birth is often accompanied by psychological and physical stress. Again, you have the opportunity to inform you at the youth welfare office about the early promotion of your child’s development.

… Miscarriage?

It is very stressful for a mother if the child is not born or not born alive. Even though the psychological pain is often similar, there is a legal distinction between a stillbirth and a miscarriage. However, this differentiation is not intended to assess or question the suffering of a woman, but only regulates legal matters, such as the entry into force of maternity protection.

A miscarriage is in the legal sense no childbirth. It occurs when the baby has no life characteristics outside the womb and its weight is less than 500 grams. Here maternity protection does not come into force. Abortions can occur even at the earlier stage of pregnancy.

However, if the miscarriage takes place after the twelfth week of pregnancy, you are subject to the special dismissal protection. This means that you can not be released for up to four months after your miscarriage. You are also entitled to medical assistance and care. This can certify you in case of strong physical and mental stress and the inability to work. Of course you will not be let down financially. Only you receive the money now not by the maternity protection, but in the context of the pay continuation of a disease.


A stillbirth is when the child’s birth weight or weight at the time of death is at least 500 grams. Here, the regular period of maternity protection applies. You can not be employed during the protection period and have a right to maternity and employer allowances. From the third week after delivery, you can work again at your request. On condition that your medical certificate does not forbid you.

… Termination of pregnancy through abortion?

After a termination of pregnancy, the right to maternity protection ends automatically.

May I waive the maternity leave?

At your express wish, you may continue to work before the birth despite maternity protection. You can withdraw this wish at any time. However, this is not possible after the birth as you are subject to the absolute prohibition of employment. An exception are female and male students. These can be active again after the postnatal protection period.

Your employer may not require you to work during maternity leave. This also applies if you give your child up for adoption immediately.

Who is affected by maternity protection??

Maternity protection applies to all pregnant and breastfeeding women in employment. There is no distinction between the employees. So also part-time workers, domestic workers and marginally employed have a right. Since January 1, 2018, students and students have the right to maternity protection, as long as the place, the course and the time of the training event are mandatory. Learn more about the special rules that apply to young mothers under 20!

Women who take vocational training based on a contract of employment, and graduates of a Federal Voluntary Service or a traineeship requiring training, are also covered by Maternity Protection. In the case of temporary employment, you are only affected by maternity protection until your employment expires.

Regardless of your level of life, relationship status and nationality you are therefore subject to maternity protection. It is only important that you work in Germany or in an employment relationship for which German law applies. In addition, maternity protection does not apply to adoptive mothers.

The pillars of maternity protection

In total, maternity protection comprises two essential components: dismissal protection and the prohibition of employment. While protection against dismissal applies throughout maternity leave, the latter comes into force only after birth. Nevertheless, the MuSchG includes some work prohibitions for pregnant women. Another important part of the Maternity Protection Act is maternity benefits and maternity benefits.

Occupational safety before birth

Before you give birth, you must not perform any activity that puts you or your child at risk. If you work before birth during maternity protection, your employer or the regulator should prohibit you from doing so if safety can not be guaranteed for both of you in the workplace. But before that, the employer should do everything in his power to adapt your workplace to your situation as a pregnant woman. An idea for this can also be the short-term transfer to another, less strenuous position.

In addition, there is a medical job ban. This means that you are not allowed to perform health-endangering or high-risk jobs or work during pregnancy, childbirth, and lactation. Again, the employer is responsible for taking care of a job without danger.

working hours

As an adult expectant mother, you can not work more than 8.5 hours per day. Travel times and legal breaks are not included. If you are employed by several employers, all hours added must be 8.5. Under the age of 18, you can not work more than 8 hours a day and do not exceed 80 hours in two consecutive weeks. In addition, the employment of pregnant women on Sundays and public holidays, as well as the night work is prohibited between 8 pm and 6 am.

Working conditions during pregnancy

Once you are pregnant, you must not engage in activities that endanger your health and that of the baby. Such activities are more precisely defined in the MuSchG. For example, from the 6th month on, you are not allowed to do any more work if you have to stand constantly. You are not allowed to work during the entire pregnancy if …

  • … it is chord or assembly line work.
  • … the work is associated with a high risk of accidents.
  • … a lot is lifted at work or loads over 5 kg are moved without help.
  • … your feet are over-stressed when operating machinery.
  • … you are exposed to hazardous vapors, gases or substances in your workplace.

Absolute ban on employment after childbirth

The Maternity Protection Act stipulates that the mother may under no circumstances work in the first eight weeks after birth. Employers have no right to object and can be displayed at any request to work. The purpose of the prohibition on employment is to safeguard the health of mother and baby. More information about the different forms of the employment ban can be found here …

leave entitlement

Many mothers are afraid of losing their leave for maternity protection. This is not the case. The maternity leave is a state benefit and thus independent of the recreational leave. So your employer does not have the right to shorten your holidays.

protection against dismissal

The dismissal protection comes into force as soon as you are pregnant and ends with your protection period after the birth. However, the prerequisite is that your employer knows about your pregnancy. If you lose your job without reporting your pregnancy, you have two weeks left to enlighten your employer. The notice is then canceled. You are also protected from termination if you did not know at the time of the pregnancy. The important thing is that you were already pregnant on the day of termination. If the employer does not withdraw his notice, first ask him in writing again. If there is no reaction, you can file a complaint with the District Court, otherwise the termination is considered final.

Exception is if the company is insolvent or decommissioned. In addition, the dismissal protection will be suspended if you have committed a serious breach of duty. Under no circumstances should the termination be related to your pregnancy or childbirth.

No financial disadvantage: the maternity allowance

In order for the expectant mother’s finances not to suffer from the ban on employment and her physical limitations, she is entitled to the maternity allowance. This can be requested one week before maternity leave begins, ie seven weeks before the expected date of delivery. As with the maternity leave, women must be employed. In addition, the right to maternity benefit exists if the employment relationship begins at the beginning of the obligation to protect or if the woman was legally dismissed after fertilization.

Normally, the statutory health insurance pay out the maternity allowance. The amount depends on the earnings in the last three months, but is not more than 13 euros per day. Those who are privately insured receive the maternity allowance from the Federal Insurance Office, also called the Maternity Benefit Office. The payout here is at most 210 euros.

The idea of ​​a maternity allowance is not to put women in financial disadvantage despite being pregnant and being banned from work. Mothers can use the free time for themselves and the baby without worries. It is perfectly legitimate and even desirable for pregnant women to leave work for the benefit of the child for a short period of time. The protection against dismissal ensures that the woman does not have to become a housewife, but can easily get back into work after the end of maternity leave or parental leave.

Additional cash injection: employer grant

As an extension of the maternity allowance there is the employer grant. Anyone who earns more than 13 euros a day (that is, 390 euros a month) will receive the difference from the employer as a subsidy.

Communication with the employer

You can decide for yourself when to inform your employer about your pregnancy. Fair, it is however as early as possible to notify. This will allow your boss to better tailor your working conditions to your pregnancy, as well as schedule staffing. Especially if you plan to go on parental leave, it is helpful for your employer to know in advance. So he has the opportunity to engage longer-term temporary workers.

Do I need a doctor’s certificate??

If your employer wants to confirm the pregnancy of your doctor, he has to bear the costs themselves. So it really is enough if you pass the information on orally. After that your boss is not allowed to pass the information on to third parties.

Pregnant in job interview: What to do?

You are not legally required to tell in a job interview that you are pregnant. Are you actually asked for it, you may even lie. Of course your application documents do not have to contain any information about your pregnancy.

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