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Do you need information about your rights at work in Germany?

What is maternity leave?

The rules for maternity leave are governed by law. They are designed to protect the health of pregnant and breastfeeding workers and to prevent them from being terminated because of pregnancy.

If you are pregnant, special rules apply to you. These include:

  • Employers may only make you work during certain hours and no more than 8.5 hours a day (on weekends only with your consent).
  • You are entitled to longer rest periods and are not allowed to do work that could endanger your pregnancy.
  • You may also attend preventive medical check-ups during working hours. Your employer must release you from work and may not deduct any money from your pay.
  • You are given leave by your employer 6 weeks before the calculated date of birth. The employer may not require you to continue working during this period. You can only work in the six weeks before birth if you really want to and are clearly willing to do so.

Employers can only give notice to pregnant or breastfeeding women in exceptional cases. This rule can also apply even if the employer did not know that you were pregnant.