During pregnancy, women have special rights in the workplace. Your employer should take the following measures:
Your working day cannot exceed 9 hours, even if your employment contract allows this.
You may only carry out strenuous or dangerous work that does not put you or your baby at risk. Your employer must carry out a risk analysis to make sure there is no threat at the workplace to you and your unborn child.
In the event of a risk to your health or safety, your employer must offer you equivalent employment that is safe and not overly demanding.
If you normally work between 8pm and 6am, you can request to work during the day in an equivalent job during the first six months of pregnancy.
It is strictly forbidden for pregnant women to work between 8pm and 6am during the eight weeks before giving birth.
You must have the possibility to lie down and rest during the day, in a separate room.
Absence and salary
During pregnancy, if you are absent from work (and have a medical certificate), you continue to receive your salary, just as you would if you were on sick leave.
You can take time off from work simply by notifying your boss. However, without a medical certificate, your employer is not obliged to pay your salary.
If you do night work and your employer cannot offer you equivalent work during the day, you are excused from work and are entitled to 80% of your salary. The same applies in case of strenuous or dangerous work.
When you return to work from maternity leave, you may request special arrangements to protect your health and to breastfeed your child.
your work day may not exceed 9 hours, even if your employment contract allows this;
you must be given time for breastfeeding and expressing milk. This time counts as paid work time (at least 30 minutes per day of work of up to 4 hours; 60 minutes per day of work of more than 4 hours; and 90 minutes per day of work of more than 7 hours); and
you may request not to do strenuous or dangerous work.
Your employer cannot dismiss you during pregnancy or during the 16 weeks of maternity leave following the birth.
Your employer can, however, dismiss you if you are pregnant during your trial period. He or she can also dismiss you for serious misconduct (such as theft). You and your employer may also reach a mutual agreement to end your employment contract.
If you are an employee, you can give notice at any time, including during pregnancy and maternity leave.
Please note: the father of the child can be dismissed while on paternity leave.
To find out more about maternity leave and the world of work, have a look at the brochure on maternity leave and protection of women at work (available in French, German and Italian) published by the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO).
For information on maternity and paternity leave, check the page on maternity and paternity leave.
For information on absence from work and getting help when your children are ill, check the page on external help.
For further information on dismissal, check the page on termination of employment.