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

Who can take maternity leave?

The Maternity Leave Act applies to all employers who employ pregnant or breastfeeding women. The law also applies to people with a residence permit (Aufenthaltserlaubnis), a temporary residence permit (Aufenthaltsgestattung) or with tolerated stay (Duldung) status.

It does not matter whether you live as a woman or not. The law applies to all forms of employment relationships:

If the employment relationship is temporary, maternity leave is only valid for as long as the employment relationship exists. A temporary employment agreement is not extended because of pregnancy.

Special protection also applies in the case that:

  • You do not have a work permit.
  • You do not have a work permit, have been asked to leave the country or your stay is not tolerated.

If your employer does not comply with the provisions of the Maternity Leave Act, seek advice.

During the maternity leave period you cannot be deported, regardless of whether you are working or not. This ban on deportation (Abschiebe-Verbot) applies to everyone, including persons from safe countries of origin who are obligated to leave the country and who do not have tolerated stay status.

During which period does the protection against termination (Kündigungsschutz) apply?

  • during the entire pregnancy from the signing of the employment agreement
  • in the 4 months after the actual birth
  • in the 4 months following a miscarriage (if it happens after the 12th week of pregnancy)

Protection against termination goes takes effect if the employer knows of your pregnancy at the time of termination. If he/she knows nothing about it and terminates you, you have 2 weeks after receiving a notice of termination to notify your employer about the pregnancy. 

To whom does the Maternity Leave Act not apply?

  • Self-employed persons (exception: persons similar to employee status)
  • Housewives