How long should maternity leave be?

Maternity protection & Co .: All pregnant women should know this information

Pregnancy is quite a burden on the body. The expectant mother is therefore entitled to some benefits in her job, which are regulated in the Maternity Protection Act. This is important so that the job does not endanger the health of mother and child. We have summarized the most important points for you here. And of course your obligations to your employer, as well as information on the duration of maternity leave and parental leave.

Many pregnant women are particularly interested in maternity leave and its duration. After all, you have to plan when you will no longer have to go to work and what will happen after the birth.

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Maternity leave and its duration

The maternity protection period begins six weeks before the calculated date of birth and ends eight weeks after the birth - in the case of premature and multiple births, twelve weeks after the birth. There is an absolute prohibition of employment during the protection period after the birth.

By the way: While there is an absolute prohibition of employment after the birth, maternity protection before the birth can be waived. However, the woman has to decide for herself, the employer is not allowed to influence it or ask the employee to do so. The decision to renounce maternity leave can be revoked at any time.

The duration of maternity protection after the birth of a disabled child was extended to twelve weeks with the new regulation of the maternity protection period in 2018.

Special situation: Maternity protection after a stillbirth or the death of the child after the birth

Even after a stillbirth or the death of the child after the birth, the mother has the right to a maternity protection period of eight weeks. But she doesn't have to make use of it if she doesn't want to. However, she cannot return to work until two weeks after the birth at the earliest. Your decision can be revoked at any time.

During maternity leave, you are entitled to maternity benefit (apply to your health insurance company!) And an employer's allowance. Maternity allowance and employer subsidy are usually about as much as your last net income.

After maternity leave: right to parental leave

After the maternity leave period, you have the option to take parental leave. This is a maximum of three years for each parent and ends when the child reaches the age of three. If the employer agrees, a portion of up to a year later can be taken - up to the child's eighth year of life. During this time you are entitled to parental allowance.

You can also find more information and a guide to maternity protection on the website of the Federal Ministry for Family, Seniors, Women and Youth.

More information about pregnancy & job

Inform employers

There is no fixed point in time by which you have to inform your employer about the pregnancy. But it is good to start the conversation as early as possible. Most pregnant women wait until the end of the first trimester, when the critical phase of pregnancy is over and the risk of miscarriage has decreased significantly.

By the way: The employer can demand that you provide proof of pregnancy by means of a medical certificate. He is obliged to pay any costs for the certification.

This work is taboo during pregnancy

No work may be carried out during pregnancy that could endanger the health of the unborn child. For example, you are no longer allowed to do night work, no longer handle hazardous substances and no longer work on the assembly line.

Also taboo: work in which you are exposed to steam, cold, heat, moisture, vibrations or noise. You are also not allowed to do a job where you often have to stretch and bend and regularly carry more than five kilograms. Standing for more than four hours is also prohibited.

Special breaks for pregnant women

There are no special breaks for pregnant women, but you should ensure that you have sufficient breaks during work!

Good to know: the employer has to give you time off to visit the doctor. Incidentally, this time does not have to be prepared or reworked.

Protection against dismissal during pregnancy

Termination due to pregnancy is prohibited in Germany. Termination is not permitted during the entire pregnancy and for up to four months thereafter.

However, one of the following conditions must be met:

  • At the time of dismissal, the employer was aware of the pregnancy or delivery.
  • The employer was informed of the pregnancy or delivery within two weeks of receiving the notice of termination.

If the employer knows about the pregnancy and you still resign, you can file a lawsuit with the labor court within three weeks. Either you give the complaint to the court orally for the record - or you hire a lawyer.

Attention: You have to pay the costs for this yourself, even if you win the lawsuit against the employer.

Rights of pregnant women in education

Apprentices who become pregnant during their apprenticeship basically have almost the same rights as employees.

Additional information: If it is foreseeable that the trainee will be absent for a longer period due to the pregnancy, so that she cannot pass the final exams, she can submit an application to the supervisory body for an extension of the training period.

After the apprenticeship, she is not entitled to be taken on - unless this was discussed with the trainer before the pregnancy.

Right of pregnant women who work independently

Without financial reserves, it is often difficult for the self-employed to stop working for a long time. This is why many self-employed people often work during maternity leave. Because maternity protection only applies to employees - and not to the self-employed.

For those with voluntary statutory health insurance, it is important that they take out daily sickness allowance insurance. Then they will receive maternity benefit for the 14 weeks of the maternity protection period, which corresponds to the amount of the sickness benefit. Private insurance companies often only pay a flat-rate delivery fee.

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