Updated at: 16-06-2022 - By: Sienna Lewis

How Long is Maternity Leave in Germany? is the subject of this blog post.

Maternity leave in Germany can be a challenging matter for expatriates to understand. How does German maternity leave compare to other countries? Do you need a permit? We explain it all in this post.

A woman’s right to maternity leave is determined by her age at the time of her baby’s birth. At 100% pay, new mothers aged 18-25 get 14 weeks, while those aged 26-35 earn 16 weeks at 80%. Her entitlement increases by two weeks each previous birth if she has had more than one child before this pregnancy.

What Is Maternity Leave In Germany?

Germany’s fourteen-week maternity leave is legal for anybody who works in the country and falls pregnant, which includes a minimum period of six weeks before and eight weeks after childbirth. If you have a premature, cesarean, or multiple births, or if your kid is born with a disability, you can extend your parental leave for up to 12 weeks.

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If you want to continue working while pregnant, you can do it legally. Everything else will be taken care of once you’ve informed your employer. As a result, new mothers are not permitted to take time off following the birth of their child. At least eight weeks following the birth of your child, you must take time off from work.

Who Is Eligible For Maternity Leave In Germany?

No of their marital status or nationality, every woman who is pregnant or nursing can take a maternity break in Germany or abroad under a German contract.

In Germany, the following women are not eligible for maternity leave:

  • Wives who stay home all day
  • One hundred percent self-employed females
  • Members of corporate boards
  • Non-employee directors of a legal entity that are in charge of the company.
  • Mothers who adopt

Job Protection During Your Time Away From Work In Germany

During your pregnancy and for up to four months after giving birth, you are protected by the German law known as the “Kündigungsschutz” (pregnancy protection).

As a result of applying for parental leave (Elternzeit), you may be able to keep your job longer.

Only if you’ve told your employer that you’re pregnant, have already given birth, or have had a miscarriage will you be protected from losing your job.

Do not, however, believe it impossible to fire you during this time. The following are examples of situations in which an employer has the right to fire a mother:

  • The business is bankrupt.
  • Some departments inside the business will be shut down.
  • They can’t go on without a qualified successor at your current employer.
  • You have committed a significant offense and failed to carry out your responsibilities.

A written application must be submitted to a specific government authority in your state if your employer terminates you for any of the reasons listed above. However, your dismissal will be contingent on the government office agreeing to their request. Ministry for Families, Seniors, Women and Children has an official website where you may find a list of these offices (in German).

Protection At Work For Mom And Child In Germany

Under the Maternity Protection Act, pregnant women are protected from doing work that could harm themselves or their unborn child.

Some of the Maternity Protection Act’s advantages for pregnant and nursing mothers include the following:

Regulated Work Hours

  • This means that if you need to work between the hours of 8 and 10 pm, you must explicitly accept the arrangement, and your company must obtain a permit from the appropriate supervisory authorities.
  • After 10pm and before 6am, you cannot work.
  • Work is prohibited on Sundays and public holidays unless you explicitly approve it. If this is the case, you are entitled to at least 11 hours of rest in between shifts, as well as an additional day of rest.
  • Do not go beyond your allotted hours of labor.
  • If you’re under the age of 18, you’re prohibited from working more than eight hours a day, or 80 hours in any two weeks.
  • It’s illegal to work more than 8.5 hours per day or more than 90 hours in two consecutive weeks for anyone above the age of 18.

Controlled Work Environment

  • Your employer is obligated to create a work environment that is free of hazards and conducive to your well-being.
  • You are not allowed to engage in heavy physical labor, which includes any job that requires you to lift or carry objects weighing more than 5 kilograms without the aid of machinery.
  • Any toxins, materials, gases, or severe factors that could harm your pregnancy must be avoided during your workday.
  • If your employment frequently requires you to bend over or stretch your arms and legs, this is not the job for you.
  • Machines that put undue strain on your feet must not be used.
  • If you have to stand all day, every day, you may not be able to work after the sixth month.

Your Benefits During The Nursing Period In Germany

A child’s growth and development are greatly aided by breast milk. As much time as feasible is given to breastfeeding mothers under the Maternity Protection Act.

Your employer must permit ‘nursing breaks’ until your child turns one if you return to work while breastfeeding.

You have the option of taking two 30-minute nursing breaks or one hour of uninterrupted nursing time each day. You can seek 45-minute nursing breaks twice a day if you work more than 8 hours without a two-hour break. Taking a 90-minute break if you can’t nurse your child while at work is an option.

To make up for these breaks, you don’t have to put in more time at the office. Your wages should not be affected, and these breaks should not be counted as rest periods (e.g., lunch break).

Women who work part-time should take nursing breaks as well.

Financial Benefits During Your Maternity Leave In Germany

When you are on maternity leave in Germany, your wages should not be affected. The so-called maternity protection salary is something your employer is required to provide (Mutterschutzlohn). The application deadline is seven weeks prior to your due date.

During your pregnancy, you will be paid the same amount of money as you were earning before you became pregnant In the event that you are paid on a monthly basis, your compensation will be based on the average of the previous three months. For weekly pay, the past 13 weeks are taken into account.

The money you receive during your maternity leave is a normal salary, so you still need to pay taxes and social contributions.

Additionally, you may be eligible for government assistance for young families such as parental allowance (Elterngeld) and child allowance (Kindergeld).

When To Inform Your Employer Of Pregnancy In Germany?

When you inform your job of your pregnancy, it is entirely up to you. It’s important to remember that your unborn kid is most vulnerable during the first three months of pregnancy.

Pregnancy is commonly announced to one’s job in Germany once the first three months of the pregnancy have gone smoothly.

Can You Go On Maternity Leave During Your Probation Period?

Maternity leave can be taken during your probationary period if you have a long-term contract, but it will not be extended.

This is yet another reason to consider Germany as your future home if you haven’t already moved here and want to have children!

Maternity Leave and Job Protection (Mutterschutz) in Germany

If you’re a working mother in Germany, you’ll have an easier time adjusting to motherhood. Before and after your child is born, you will be required to take time off of work. For many English-speaking expats, this is ground-breaking information. As a result of enacting the Mutterschutzgesetz, or Maternity Protection Act, in 1968, employers no longer discriminate against women in the hiring process or face being fired because of their pregnancy or the birth of a child. This law goes well beyond the essential assertion and gives a great deal more than what was originally stated.

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Pregnant women who are working must notify their employer of their pregnancy and the projected date of delivery in order to take advantage of the Maternity Protection benefits. A doctor’s Certificate of Expected Date of Delivery must be presented to the employer if a verbal notification is not sufficient. Employers must reimburse their employees for this certificate if they ask for it, so keep your receipt handy.

It is not necessary for pregnant women who are looking for work to disclose that they are expecting their first child.

An employee’s pregnancy cannot be divulged to a third party by an employer.

As soon as an expecting mother informs their workplace of their pregnancy, the employer must send a notification to either their local Arbeitsschutzämter or their local Gewerberaufsichtsaemter. There are two organizations that are responsible for ensuring the appropriate implementation of all Mutterschutz rules, as well as providing assistance to both employers and employees.

Job Protection

A Kündigungsverbot, or Dismissal Ban, safeguards pregnant women from losing their jobs during the four months following childbirth (Schutzfrist). Employers are only allowed to fire a pregnant worker in the most extreme cases.

As long as an employer received proper notification (the ideal option is via Registered Mail with a Return Receipt) of the pregnancy and/or the anticipated birth date, this termination prohibition is in effect. As a general rule, if an employer cancels a pregnant employee’s contract less than two weeks before the due date, the dismissal is usually reverted or invalidated. There aren’t many businesses willing to take on the risk of taking on higher authorities in this matter, because it’s difficult and generally ends in failure.

Employees who are pregnant during the Schutzfrist are not contractually obligated to their contract’s cancellation terms; they are free to promptly terminate an employment contract with impunity. It is important to know that if you terminate your job contract, your employer will not have to pay for any work-related expenses, including their component of the Mutterschaftsgeld- Maternity Allowance (see associated article).

In order to learn more about the specifics of job protection in Germany, you can reach out to “Kündigungschutz” at the ministry’s [email protected] e-mail address (or Postfach 300265, 53182 Bonn)

Mother & Child Protection at the Workplace

In the workplace, pregnant and breastfeeding women are highly protected. A few of the most important provisions of the Maternity Protection Act are summarized as follows:

  • Employers must ensure that pregnant and breastfeeding women have a safe and healthy work environment.
  • Pregnant and nursing women need a reclining chair in their break area, and employers must offer it for them.
  • Pregnant or breastfeeding women are not prohibited from working in front of PC monitors, despite the widespread belief that magnetic fields pose a health risk. In order to avoid overstressing an expectant or nursing mother, employers are urged to create a varied work schedule. If you need medical advice, you should consult with the corporate doctor.
  • Pregnant women are prohibited from engaging in strenuous physical labor or working with or around substances, materials, or gases, or in conditions that could be detrimental to their health.
  • Compressed air and radioactive material, as well as chemical and biological pollutants, should be avoided during pregnancy and breast-feeding for the safety of both the mother and the child.

To resolve any ambiguity arising from these principles, it is up to either the Employment Protection Office or the Gewerberaufsichtämter, the Business Supervisory Office, to make a final decision. A consultation office can be contacted by both parties at any time.

  • The hours between 20:00 and 06:00 on weeknights are off limits to women who are pregnant or nursing.
  • Sundays and holidays are off-limits to working for expectant or breastfeeding moms.
  • It’s against the law for pregnant and nursing moms to work extra.
  • Working more than 8 1/2 hours a day or 90 hours in a two-week period is prohibited for pregnant and lactating moms.
  • Working more than 8 hours a day or 80 hours in a two-week period is prohibited for pregnant and nursing mothers under the age of 18.

There are exceptions to the rule for personnel in the health care and hospitality industries as well as in the arts and in family homes.

Nursing (Working) Mothers

The Maternity Protection Act ensured that this critical aspect of motherhood would not be overlooked in Germany, where breast-feeding, or nursing, is extremely common. “Nursing breaks” are authorized for working moms who are nursing their children, as long as their 8-hour shifts haven’t been interrupted by a two-hour break. A 30 minute nursing break can be taken two times a day or once a day for a full hour. Working moms are entitled to two 45-minute breaks or a single 90-minute break if they work more than eight hours a day, whichever comes first.

A nursing mother’s income or hours worked cannot be removed from these breaks, and they cannot be counted in place of other established breaks (like lunch breaks).

Mutterschutzlohn / Maternity Protection Pay

Pregnant women who are declared unable to work because of their pregnancy are not subject to any financial penalties due to the Maternity Protection Act’s provision on this. In order to qualify for the Maternity Protection Pay, a woman must have worked for her employer for at least 13 weeks in a row or for the previous three months before to becoming pregnant.

Protection Period: Before and After Giving Birth

Mothers’ rights are protected by the Maternity Protection Act (Mutterschutzgesetz)

  • Pregnant women are not legally required to work during the final six weeks of their expected pregnancy, but they can if they express their decision to do so in writing (paragraph 3).
  • For the first eight weeks following the birth of a child, new moms are not permitted to return to work (paragraph 5).
  • The return to work date is automatically extended by 12 weeks following the birth of multiples, preemies, or cesareans (paragraph 5.1).

It is up to a Public Health Officer to make the final call on which situations should be exempt from the standard 8-week leave period (paragraph 3.3)

It is impossible to predict the exact day of delivery with any degree of certainty, no matter how advanced our medical technology is. Take heart. The German government has devised a contingency plan in the event of such a scenario. Regardless of whether your baby is born earlier or later than expected, you are still entitled to the full eight weeks of paid maternity leave that you were originally scheduled to receive.


Is there paid maternity leave in Germany?

Premature and multiple births, as well as cases in which a doctor declares a child disabled within eight weeks of birth and the mother requests a longer period of protection, qualify for an additional six weeks of maternity allowance in addition to the eight weeks that follow, as well as the day of birth itself.

How long is paid parental leave in Germany?

For how long may I take parental leave, and when can I do so? Three years of parental leave can be taken by each parent. When it comes to mothers, this three-year period of parental leave includes the six-weeks-long post-birth maternity leave mandated by law.

Can I take 12 months maternity leave?

Maternity leave policies vary widely. If you intend to return to work sooner than a year after giving birth, you must notify your employer. It’s just good for a year, tops. Maternity leave can be taken for as little as two weeks.

How many weeks can you go on maternity leave?

Maternity leave may be begun as early as 11 weeks before the expected due date. However, even if you decide to work right up until your due date, if you end up taking time off with a pregnancy related illness during your last month of pregnancy, your leave will start then.

What country has the shortest maternity leave?

Japanese women are paid 67 percent of their former wage for 14 weeks of maternity leave. 9.4 weeks of full-time work would be the equal. According to The Diplomat, Japan’s birth and marriage rates are at a record low.

Which European country has the best maternity leave?

Bulgaria. Bulgaria is the most favorable in terms of maternity leave in Eastern Europe. Maternity leave for working women can last up to 410 days if they follow a progressive schedule. Nearly all of the employee’s salary is covered by social security for this absence.

Do fathers get paid paternity leave in Germany?

While parental leave is unpaid, new parents can apply for parental benefit (Elterngeld). It pays up to 1.800 euros a month to make up for the lack of income. The good news is that your employment is safe while you’re away from work to raise your child.

Maternity Leave Entitlements, Parental Leave and the Maternity Protection Act in Germany

Maternity Leave

A statute known as the Maternity Protection Act (MPA) oversees German maternity leave. Six weeks before and eight weeks following the birth of a child are eligible for leave under the MPA (or 12 weeks in case of premature or multiple births). Pregnancy-related terminations, as well as terminations following a miscarriage, are now prohibited for a period of four months.

Parental Leave

In addition to maternity leave, the government pays a parental stipend of 300 to 1200 Euros (depending on salary) for the first 14 months of an extended parental leave of up to a total of 24 months.

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This is a significant perk, and while the state pays the allowance, the employer may be saddled with the cost if employees are absent for an extended period of time. When an employee returns to work after taking parental leave, they will receive the same amount of time off as before. While on leave, the employee’s work contract is suspended, although they are prohibited from taking more leave in the following year without the agreement of their employer.

Paternity Leave Entitlements in Germany

Paternity leave is not mandated for fathers, although they can choose to take the same parental leave as the woman, along with the allowance, up to the maximum term permitted by the family’s financial situation at the time.

Maternity/Paternity Eligibility for Expats and Locals in Germany?

All German employees who are pregnant are entitled to statutory maternity and paternity leave. Expat workers will also be affected by this, but it is more common among local staff.

How to Apply for Maternity or Parental Leave in Germany

Maternity or paternity leave must be requested at least seven weeks in advance by submitting a written request to the employer.

Do you need more information about Germany?

When it comes to German maternity leave laws, you may require more information on:

Before and after the birth of a child, determining the amount of maternity leave needed.

How can a mother combine her maternity leave with her time as a new parent?

Ensuring ensuring the government pays the employee’s parental leave benefit.

Whether it’s immigration, payroll, or tax compliance, our in-country specialists and local partners can help. We simplify the process of finding a job abroad.

Maternity Leave in the United States of America

Pregnant workers in the United States can take maternity leave, either paid or unpaid, for the birth and care of their child.

How long is maternity leave in texas

The length of maternity leave in Texas varies depending on the firm and the amount of time the person has worked there. A vaginal delivery or a c-section can typically be completed in 12 to 16 weeks of paid leave, depending on the circumstances.

Can I get paid by my employer while on maternity leave?

To be eligible for FMLA (Family Medical Leave Act) benefits for any part of your pregnancy-related absence, you must have worked at your employment for long enough under federal law to qualify. If you don’t fit this criterion, your sole choice will be to take advantage of any unpaid family medical leave provided by your state or business.

How do I get paid while on maternity leave in Texas?

If you do not meet the qualification requirements for FMLA, then your state or employer may offer a paid family and medical leave benefits as an alternative option.

Canet paid during maternity leave?

If you don’t qualify for FMLA, your state or employer may offer paid family and medical leave benefits as an alternative.

Do you have to pay maternity leave back if you quit?

Maternity leave does not have to be repaid if you leave your job.

How long should I wear a maternity belt after delivery?

A maternity belt should be worn for up to six weeks following childbirth, although it should be worn during any activity that requires lifting.

What happens if I go into labour before my scheduled cesarean section?

Before having a C-section, wait until you are 36 weeks pregnant if you are having preterm labor.

How long should I wait to have sex after delivery?

Although sex can be had at any time, we recommend waiting six weeks after the birth of your child before having intercourse. If your doctor gives the go-ahead, you can resume intercourse four weeks prior to your due date.

Does FMLA cover work part-time?

There is no requirement under the FMLA for an employer to give additional paid medical or family leave benefits than what is already mandated by state legislation. Pregnancy-related impairment only necessitates unpaid family and medical leave if the individual has worked for their present employer for a specified period of time under specific conditions.

You may be able to get paid family and medical leave benefits from your state if there are any differences between federal FMLA law and the laws in your state.

Can I be fired while on maternity leave?

Pregnant women cannot be fired by their employers. Pregnancy cannot be used as a basis for making employment decisions, including refusing to conduct an interview with you. When you file a discrimination lawsuit against your employer because of your pregnancy-related absence from work, the company cannot retaliate against you.

Are people with disabilities protected by the same laws?

Yes! Disability status cannot be used as a basis for discrimination against employees under the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA). Even if a person’s epilepsy or autism is so mild that it doesn’t require medication and doesn’t occur at work, employers cannot refuse to hire them.

Disabled workers must receive equal pay as nondisabled co-workers doing similar jobs in the company; they have the right to reasonable workplace accommodations, like wheelchair ramps and designated parking spaces; they also can’t be denied promotions or transfers solely because of their disability. Other laws protect people with disabilities in the workplace as well, such as the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).

Are there any exceptions?

Disabled workers must be paid the same as their nondisabled coworkers doing the same job; they have the right to adequate workplace modifications, such as wheelchair ramps and designated parking places; and they cannot be denied promotions or transfers solely because of their disability. The Fair Labor Standards Act, for example, protects employees with impairments in the workplace (FLSA).

If you’re worried about discrimination lawsuits, you’re not the only one: It is also possible for employees who have complained about discrimination to sue their supervisors or coworkers for retaliation if they are terminated as a result of the complaint they made against the company.

Regardless of whether or not your termination was due to pregnancy, the fact that you filed a charge with the EEOC and received other unfavorable measures from your employer after doing so is critical to this. If you’ve experienced something similar, don’t hesitate to get help right now! Get in touch with an employment lawyer right away! When a discriminatory conduct occurs, you have up to 180 days to file a claim with state and federal agencies before the deadline!