The German Maternity Protection Act serves, on the one hand, to protect the health of expectant or nursing women and their (unborn) children and, on the other hand, to empower women to decide at their own discretion whether they work or not.
Effective 1 January 2018, pursuant to Sec. 1 (2) No. 8 MuSchG, the Act also applies to students to the extent that the training entity mandates the location, time, and schedule of courses or to those who complete a mandatory internship in the course of their university studies.
In particular, the following regulations apply:
- Notification of pregnancy (Sec. 15 (1) MuSchG):
An expectant student shall notify the university about her pregnancy and the estimated due date. The form "Notification of Pregnancy" is available for this purpose. A nursing student shall notify the university as soon as possible about the fact that she is a nursing mother. The first point of contact for submitting the form is the Student Office of Worms University of Applied Sciences, Building M Room 5, tel.: 06241 509-180, email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Under no circumstances is the student required to submit such notification. However, the university can only take necessary safety and protection measures if it knows at an early stage about the pregnancy or any nursing period. Data privacy is ensured at all times.
Hence, the student's notification is the prerequisite for exercising her rights under the Act and being entitled to special accommodations under the examination laws (cf. under 3).
- Protection periods (Sec. 3 (1) and (2) MuSchG):
Maternity leave generally starts six weeks before the delivery date and ends eight weeks after giving birth. In case of premature birth, multiple births, and if - prior to the expiration of eight weeks of giving birth - the child is medically diagnosed with a disability, the maternity protection period is extended to twelve weeks. In case of early delivery, the protection period after delivery is extended by the period by which the protection period was shortened as a result of the early delivery. Therefore
it is essential to subsequently submit a copy of the birth certificate to the Examination Office without any delay. If the actual delivery date deviates from the estimated due date, the protection periods must be recalculated.
If the child is stillborn or dies, the general period of protection following delivery applies. However, a miscarriage does not result in the effects under maternity protection law, in particular the period of protection following delivery does not apply. For women who have terminated a pregnancy, maternity protection ends upon said termination.
- Special provisions under the examination laws (Sec. 3 (3) MuSchG):
If the student reported her pregnancy and the due date to the university, she is not required to attend classes or participate in examinations during the protection periods specified under 2). The student is not considered in any service registration with the Examination Office for those periods. However, she may waive any protection periods when and if she expressly files such waiver with the university. In that case, the student signs a "Waiver", stating that she waives her right of maternity leave to complete her examinations. This accommodates the student's desire to complete her degree programme without any delay. The student may revoke her waiver (of maternity protection) at any time effective for the future. Such revocation shall not become effective retroactively, in particular in examination situations. If the student drops out of the examination for health reasons (or reasons relating to maternity leave), it shall be determined whether and to which extent such
medical reasons are taken into account under the applicable examination law regulations of the university. In case of a miscarriage or termination of pregnancy, the protection periods shall not apply, so that the student is (retroactively) enrolled by the Examination Office.
- Leave of Absence (Sec. 16 of the Enrolment Regulation of Worms University of Applied Sciences):
A female student may request a leave of absence for the following semester of the degree programme during the re-enrolment period due to maternity leave before / after giving birth to her child or due to pregnancy / raising a child upon written request by using the form "Leave of Abscence Request" (to be submitted at the Student Office). A leave of absence is granted for a period of one semester. It is typically permitted for a maximum of two consecutive semesters; in case of maternity leave before giving birth and maternity leave after giving birth, the maximum period legally permissible for a leave of absence is six semesters. During the leave of absence, the student is exempted from courses and shall not participate in any exams. Please note that the currently applicable semester tuition is payable also during the semester on leave.
Further information concerning the protection of health of expectant and nursing mothers as well as the absence for exams according to sec. 4-7 MuSchG will be provided in our leaflet in the sidebar of this website.