What expectant mothers should pay attention to!

If you are expecting a new generation in the near future or an employee has informed you about the announced new generation, the following protective regulations should be observed. As an employer, you are even obliged to inform your employee of the special features.

Are there any special features for screen work?

There is no general ban on employment in the area of VDU work. However, prolonged one-sided posture and permanent monotonous activities should be avoided. By changing activities and consistently adhering to breaks, possible stress at the computer workstations can be reduced.

Are pregnant women allowed to do heavy physical work?

Becoming mothers must not perform any heavy physical work. Likewise, they must not be exposed to hazardous substances or radiation, dust, gases or vapours, heat, cold or moisture, shocks or noise.

To steps and ladders

Climbing ladders and kicks should be avoided. The same applies to overhead work. If expectant mothers need files from a shelving area that they cannot reach, their colleagues should be asked for help.


There is a ban on work in which expectant mothers regularly lift, move or transport loads weighing more than 5 kg or occasionally more than 10 kg by hand without mechanical aids.

Standing, squatting or stooping activities

At the end of the fifth month of pregnancy, standing, squatting or stooping activities should be avoided. Such work is also prohibited from the sixth month of pregnancy onwards, provided that it exceeds four hours a day.

Night shifts

Expectant and nursing mothers must not be employed in night work (between 8 p. m. and 6 a. m. ), on Sundays and public holidays and not in overtime work. They may not work more than 8 1/2 hours per day or 90 hours per double week.

Women under the age of 18 are not allowed to work more than 8 hours a day or 80 hours a week in a double week, with the statutory rest period and driving time (home – work) not being working hours. Attention should be paid to compliance with the break times.

Break times

The legally prescribed breaks (rest periods) must be observed at all costs. In the case of more than six hours and up to nine hours, at least 30 minutes and in the case of more than nine hours at least 45 minutes shall be interrupted and a rest period shall be provided.

Individual employment ban

In addition to the general employment prohibitions, the Maternity Protection Act also contains an individual employment prohibition for individual cases. Accordingly, expectant mothers may not be employed to the extent that, according to a medical certificate, the life or health of the mother or child are at risk if the previous employment continues. Prerequisite for this individual employment ban is a corresponding medical certificate. The doctor must decide whether the symptoms are a disease or not. If the doctor discovers any symptoms attributable to the pregnancy, he or she must examine them and decide from a medical point of view whether the pregnant woman is incapacitated for work due to complications that have occurred or – without any illness being present – whether a ban on employment is necessary to protect the life or health of the mother or child.

If the doctor issues you with a corresponding certificate, this must be communicated to the employer immediately and in any case the employment ban must be observed. If the employment ban is lifted again during pregnancy, the employee may only continue to be employed if the lifting of the employment ban is certified by a doctor.

Even during an employment ban, the employee is entitled to continued payment of the salary until the beginning of the maternity period.

Protection periods before and after the birth of your child

The term of protection begins six weeks before the expected delivery and normally ends eight weeks, in the case of medical premature births or multiple births twelve weeks, after the delivery. A medical certificate shall be authoritative for determining that a premature birth in the medical sense is present. A premature birth within the meaning of § 6 Para. 1 MuSchG is when the child weighs less than 2,500 grams at birth or when the child, despite its higher birth weight, does not yet require fully developed signs of maturity and thus requires significantly extended care. In the case of a premature birth or any other premature delivery, the period of protection after the birth shall be extended by the period which could not have been claimed before the birth.

If the calculated date of birth is exceeded, the term of protection after the birth is not shortened. It is also eight or twelve weeks.

Employment during the term of protection

As of six weeks before the probable birth of the child, expectant mothers may only be employed if they expressly declare in writing that they wish to continue working. They may, however, revoke that decision at any time.

There is an absolute ban on employment during the protection period after childbirth. During this time, the mothers must not be employed even if they are willing to do so.

Exemption for preventive medical checkups

Since preventive medical check-ups serve the health of mother and child, expectant mothers are to be released from work for these check-ups, provided that these check-ups are only possible during working hours.

Disease during pregnancy

In the event of illness during pregnancy, the mother-to-be should consult your doctor so that he/she can decide whether there is an incapacity to work. This serves exclusively to protect the mother and her child.

Interesting facts about maternity pay

Maternity benefit is paid by the statutory health insurance funds during the protection periods before and after childbirth and for the day of childbirth. Payment of the maternity allowance (currently € 13. 00 per day) requires a certificate from a doctor or midwife stating the presumed date of delivery. If the average net wage per calendar day exceeds 13 euros (monthly net wage 390 euros), the difference is paid as a contribution to maternity pay. Maternity benefit must be claimed by expectant mothers as employees covered by statutory health insurance from their health insurance fund. The certificate required to apply for maternity benefit is issued to expectant mothers by their gynaecologist or midwife. As a rule, this certificate is issued two to three weeks before the start of the term of protection and must be supplemented by you if necessary. If possible, the certificate should be submitted to the health insurance fund before the start of the protection period.

If the mother-to-be has private health insurance or family insurance via a family member (e. g. your husband) and is not herself a member of a statutory health insurance fund, the maternity benefit must be applied for in good time before the protection period at the Federal Insurance Office, Mutterschutzstelle in Bonn.

Is the employer’s contribution to maternity benefit eligible for insolvency benefit?

Yes, the employer’s contribution to maternity benefit is also eligible for insolvency benefit. The provisions governing the receipt of insolvency money shall apply.

What about the vacation entitlement?

Absences due to employment prohibitions under maternity protection law and maternity protection periods are regarded as periods of employment. Even during these times, holiday entitlements arise. The remaining leave from the period before the employment prohibitions is transferable to the current or next holiday year. This remaining leave can also be taken after parental leave.

Maternity Protection Act

Details are laid down in the Maternity Act. A copy of this should be available in the company and accessible to expectant mothers.