Family Service

Maternity protection, maternity leave and Maternity Pay

The Maternity Protection Act (Mutterschutzgesetz) is relevant for all members of Kiel University that are pregnant or nursing a child.

Notifying the employer about pregnancy or nursing a child

There's no legal obligation to inform the employer about a pregnancy or when nursing a child. Nevertheless, employees should tell their supervisor and the Human Resources (HR) Department about the pregnancy/ nursing. Especially when working in potentially hazardous workplaces. As long as the employer is not informed, protective measures according to the Maternity Protection Act cannot be taken. 

It is up to the pregnant/ nursing person, when to tell the employer and supervisor about the pregnancy/ nursing. It should be considered though, that a workplace might be dangerous for the unborn child or while nursing. Working there should be avoided  until the pregnancy/ nursing is announced officially and risks have been assessed.

Official announcement is done towards the personal supervisor and the contact person in the HR Department. If pregnant, please provide the expected due date of the child. Next, a risk assessment of the workplace will take place.

Risk assessment of the workplace according to the Maternity Protection Act (Gefährdungsbeurteilung)

Pregnant or nursing individuals are not allowed to perform any tasks that put them or their (unborn) child at risk. The university is bound to take measures, like a risk assessment of the workplace, as soon as they know about the pregnancy. Responsible for the risk assessment is the medical officer of Kiel University together with your personal supervisor.

This could result in no change at all (usually with office work), a rearrangement of the workplace or a (partial) prohibition to work at the workplace (likely with labwork).

The medical officer at Kiel University provides information about the risk assessment at your workplace here (in German).

Maternity leave period (Mutterschutzfrist)

The maternity leave period starts six weeks prior to the estimated date of birth and ends eight weeks after the child is born. During this period it is not allowed to work. There is one exception: If declared officially towards the employer, it is allowed to work in the six-week period before birth. This declaration can be legally withdrawn at any point.

The exact date of the maternity leave period is based on the estimated date of birth and will be calculated by the HR Department. If a child is born early and it was not possible to take the full six weeks of the leave period before birth, the missing time will be added to the leave period after birth.

Employees can usually get Maternity Pay during maternity leave (see below).

Maternity Pay (Mutterschaftsgeld)

Maternity Pay is a salary substitute that is paid during the maternity leave period (Mutterschutzfrist). In general, the amount of the prior average net income is paid by the statutory health insurance and the employer. Please check with your health insurance early enough, because there is a deadline for application seven weeks prior to the estimated date of birth.

If you have a fixed term contract that ends while receiving maternity allowance, the allowance will still be paid in most cases. Please check with your health insurance.

Individuals without work contract (scholarship and stipend holders and students) should check with their health insurance early on, because usually there is no eligibility for maternity pay.

(Restricted) work prohibition declared by a medical doctor

Doctors can declare a (restricted) work prohibition for medical reasons for pregnant or nursing women outside the regular maternity leave period. During this period a salary is paid, the so called "Mutterschutzlohn", which is about the average net income.

Here you can find more information (in German):
Informationen des Landes Schleswig-Holsteins zum ärztlichen Beschäftigungsverbot: unter diesem Link, die Mustervorlage der ärztlichen Bescheinigung befindet sich  hier.

Dismissal protection (Kündigungsschutz)

The dismissal protection begins with the start of the pregnancy. It is necessary that the employer knows about the pregnancy/birth already or gets knowledge of it within two weeks. Otherwise there is no dismissal protection. The protection ends four months after birth. It can be prolonged during parental leave.

Fixed term contracts and Maternity Protection Act

A fixed term contract will usually end at the fixed date, regardless of any measures provided by the Maternity Protection Act for example the maternity leave period. At university these are usually contracts according to WissZeitVG §2 Abs.2 (this is the normal contract for scientists that are third party funded), TzBfG and BEEG.

There is only one exception: Contracts according to WissZeitVG §2 Abs.1 can be prolonged. These are in general contracts for scientists, that are not third party funded. There is a legal right for prolongation for those time-periods that the employee was on maternity or parental leave. In order to have to make use of the prolongation of the contract, it is necessary to notify the HR Department of the wish to do so before the current fixed term contract ends.

If unemployment follows the fixed term contract, further funding and social benefits have to be discussed with the employment agency (Arbeitsagentur), the health insurance and, if required, the immigration office. Individuals from outside the EU are usually not eligible for social benefits in Germany and might loose their residence status.

Further information in German

Informationen des Geschäftsbereichs Personal der CAU: Mutterschutz und Elternzeit

Informationen des Bundesministeriums für Familie, Senioren, Frauen und Jugend: Mutterschutz

Die Bundesbroschüre "Leitfaden zum Mutterschutz" kann hier heruntergeladen werden: Leitfaden zum Mutterschutz


Contact for further questions

Bettina Bolterauer, Telefon: +49 (0)431 880 2019
Celine Pump, Telefon: +49 (0)431 880 5221
Fax: +49 (0)431 880 1751
Besuchsadresse: Christian-Albrechts-Platz 4, 24118 Kiel, Raum: 1411
Postadresse: Christian-Abrechts-Universität zu Kiel, Familien-Service, Olshausenstr. 40, 24098 Kiel