The rights for mothers and for expecting mothers are clearly defined in Germany. Here you can find the most important information about maternity protection, parental allowance and parental leave.

  • Maternity protection: Expecting mothers do not have to work during the last 6 weeks of their projected pregnancy, but may do so as long as they formally state their intention to work during this period. New mothers are not allowed to return to work until 8 weeks have passed since the date of their child’s birth. In this time the employer will pay the salary as usual.

  • Parental allowance: Parents can apply for parental allowance (Elterngeld) if they are not working after the birth of the child. It allows for both parents to exercise their right to time off with their new born and to receive Elterngeld. They can receive Elterngeld up to 14 month if both parents make use of it. They can share their time off as desired. The Elterngeld amount is 67% of the applying parent’s after tax earnings, averaged over 12 months before the child’s birth. The maximum amount monthly is 1,800 Euro and the minimum amount 300 Euro.

  • Parental leave: Parents have a legal claim to parental leave. This time off can be taken until the child is 3 years old. In this time parents are protected against dismissal. After the 12 (14 month of receiving Elterngeld) this time off is unpayed.

  • Nursing mothers: The Mutterschutzgesetz (Maternity protection act) guarantees a special protection for nursing mothers. They have for example the right to nurse their child at least twice a day for thirty minutes.


  • General information about motherhood in English:

Information in German: