Maternity Protection for Employees
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A few important rights
For a full version of the text, please go to our page Maternity Protection Act.
You find a selection of important rights here.
1. Maternity Protection Act protects expecting mothers against dismissal from work (Kündigungsverbot) since starting of pregnancy until 4 months post birth. When the mother decides to resume her work she is entitled to have her job back, if not the same then at least of the same level. On the other hand, a mother has a right to cancel any contract at any time or even apply for parental leave that may begin right after the maternity leave.
2. Employers must continue to provide a safe and healthy work environment for pregnant and lactating mothers. Besides, they are not allowed to work more than 8.5 hours daily or 90 hours in a 2 weeks period. Plus, they are not permitted to work night shift from 8:00 pm to 6:00 am. Exceptions could be made for employees working in hospitals, restaurants, hotels, agriculture, and households.
3. Employers must provide a quiet room for nursing. Nursing time must be provided during the work hours; separate from other breaks (lunch break).
4. If your job involves dealing with hazardous materials or exposes you to unhealthy environment, your employer must assess the situation and should provide you with an alternative work environment.
At Saarland University, usually the supervisor is in charge of the risk assessment.
5. The latest addition to the law (2018) protects expecting students.
Announcing Your Pregnancy
Important protective measures and rights are associated with the status of a pregnant employee. Since these regulations only apply once you have informed your employer of the pregnancy, you should do so as early as possible. An informal notification, for example via email to the responsible clerk at the University's Human Resources Department, is usually suffcient.
Notifying only your direct superior is usually not sufficient. You should however make sure to inform them as well. You might find the brochure "How to Tell Your Superior" helpful in this context. The brochure can be found in our download section.
As part of our consultation services, we are also happy to provide a brochure on maternity protection provided by the Saarland Chamber of Labour. The Saarland Chamber of Labour offers consultation services free of charge to its members.
During the leave, an employee is entitled to receive maternity pay (Mutterschutzlohn) from her health insurance and the employer supplements any remaining amount to ensure full salary (an average of the last 3 months). In case the expectant mother should stop working prior to her statutory maternity leave due to health condition, her employer must continue to pay full salary.
Dauer der Mutterschutzfristen
Die Mutterschutzzeit beginnt regulär 6 Wochen vor dem errechneten Geburtstermin und endet 8 Wochen danach; bei Mehrlingsgeburten sind es 12 Wochen. Der gleiche Zeitraum gilt bei Kindern mit Behinderung, allerdings muss hier die verlängerte Schutzzeit nach der Geburt beantragt werden. Zur Berechnung der Mutterschutzzeit bieten viele Krankenkassen Online-Rechner an. Für weitere Details verweisen wir auf unsere Beratung oder die auf unseren Seiten zur Verfügung gestellten Materialien.
Während der Mutterschutzzeit besteht für Arbeitnehmerinnen ein absolutes Beschäftigungsverbot. Eine Ausnahme ist lediglich während der Sechs-Wochen-Frist vor der Geburt möglich, jedoch nur, wenn die Schwangere freiwillig, aber jederzeit widerrufbar und ausdrücklich erklärt, dass sie weiterarbeiten will. Ein solches Vorgehen sollte dringend mit der Ärztin/dem Arzt abgesprochen sein.
Video on Maternity Protection
Video in German (with English subtitles for the video as well as English transcript are available if Google translator is used)