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Pregnancy and breastfeeding for employees

Maternity protection

A woman places her hands together like a heart on her pregnant belly. © Pixabay

Under the Maternity Protection Act (MuSchG), employees receive special protection from occupational stress during pregnancy and after the birth.


The provisions of the Maternity Protection Act generally include

  • a protection period of 6 weeks before the birth,
  • a protection period of 8 weeks after the birth - or 12 weeks in the case of premature and multiple births and (on application) in the case of a disability of the child, provided it is medically diagnosed within the first 8 weeks,
  • protection from activities involving particular stress or danger for mother and child during the entire pregnancy and breastfeeding period in the first year of the child's life,
  • protection against work on Sundays and public holidays as well as overtime and night work,
  • the right to an appropriate workplace design during pregnancy and breastfeeding that allows you to remain at work for as long as possible,
  • the right to rest, resting and breastfeeding facilities on campus,
  • time off for examinations in connection with the pregnancy (e.g. pre- and post-natal care) and for breastfeeding (at least 30 minutes twice a day in the first year).

As a pregnant employee, you are generally granted time off for the six weeks before the birth and for the eight (or twelve) weeks after the birth of your child, as well as before and after these periods for activities that pose an "irresponsible risk" to the life of mother and child.

As a training center and employer, the University of Dortmund is responsible for protecting the health of its female employees and students in accordance with the MuSchG.

Therefore, please inform the Human Resources Department of your pregnancy as soon as it has been established. To do so, please contact your current HR officer and submit proof of the expected date of delivery (e.g. copy of your maternity record).

Following notification of your pregnancy, you will receive a letter informing you of the exact dates of your maternity protection periods, the risk assessment procedure and further information and discussion opportunities.

Of course, you should also inform your direct superiors about your pregnancy.

If you are also enrolled at the university as a (doctoral) student, you should also inform the Coordination Office for Maternity Protection during Studies of your pregnancy (form for reporting a pregnancy during studies).

According to § 3 para. 1 MuSchG, employees can expressly waive the maternity protection period before giving birth and continue to work. You must inform your employer (Human Resources Department) of this in writing. You can revoke this declaration at any time (but not retroactively).

Under certain conditions (consent of the woman, medical certificate, no irresponsible risk and after approval by the responsible supervisory authority), a pregnant or breastfeeding woman can also be employed between 8 p.m. and 10 p.m. in accordance with § 28 MuSchG. This requires an application by the employer to the supervisory authority

The regulations on health protection in the Maternity Protection Act explicitly refer to the health of mother and child.

Hazardous areas are found above all in activities in laboratories and workshops as well as in infectious areas, but also in physical activities such as sports or music courses and internships and possibly in excursions (e.g. if these take place in rough terrain). In some areas, the continuation of the respective activity depends not only on the activity itself but also on the health conditions of each individual woman (immunity to certain infectious diseases). In the course of a "risk assessment", it is clarified which activities may and may not be carried out during pregnancy and breastfeeding.

A risk assessment must be drawn up for every pregnant employee. This must also include an assessment of how you can continue your professional activity during pregnancy - with as few restrictions as possible and optimum health protection for you and your child. This also includes an offer from the university to discuss a workplace design adapted to your situation, usually with your line manager.

A risk assessment questionnaire from the Occupational, Environmental and Health Protection Department will help you to determine and document your health protection during pregnancy. You can find further information in the service portal.

The provisions of the Maternity Protection Act that relate to financial benefits concern wage replacement benefits and only apply to employees, not to students and interns.

  • Maternity benefit (§§ 19-20 MuSchG) As an employee, you will receive maternity benefit from your health insurance fund or from the Federal Insurance Office during the statutory maternity protection periods before and after childbirth if you do not have statutory health insurance or family insurance. You can obtain the application forms for this from your health insurance fund or from the Federal Social Security Office (BAS). The employer compensates the difference between the maternity allowance (€13/day) and the average net pay for the three months prior to the start of the six-week protection period before the birth with a subsidy. (This amount is later reimbursed via a pay-as-you-go procedure by the health insurance funds, so that the employer does not incur any expenses due to the maternity protection periods).
  • Maternity protection pay in the event of a ban on employment (§ 18 MuSchG) If you are only allowed to work part-time or not at all in connection with pregnancy and childbirth outside the general maternity protection periods due to a ban on employment, you will receive maternity protection pay from your employer. This corresponds to the average pay for the last three months before the start of the pregnancy (or - if you only started work after the start of the pregnancy: the first three months of employment).

You can find more information on the website of the Federal Ministry.