Pregnancy, maternity and paternity
Women benefit from special protection when they are pregnant and in the first few months after giving birth.
Employers must ensure that pregnant or breastfeeding employees are able to work in conditions appropriate for their circumstances to protect their health and that of their child. They must ascertain whether their company environment is compliant. Adjustments to the work they perform should also be considered.
For example, it seems obvious that a pregnant woman should not have to carry heavy loads or work in a smoky office. If the risks assessed are too high, the employer must find her equivalent work which shows due respect for her health.
After giving birth, a female worker is entitled to maternity leave of at least 14 weeks (or 98 days). During this period, the employer must pay 80% of her salary.
While they are pregnant, and in the first few months following delivery of the baby, women are protected by law against wrongful dismissal. They also benefit from maternity insurance. There are special publications about women’s rights during pregnancy and maternity which can be found on the SECO website: Schwangerschaft und Mutterschaft (only in German).
During the first year of the child’s life, the time necessary for breastfeeding is counted as work time paid within the following limits:
- for a working day of ≤ 4 h = 30 min;
- for a working day of > 4 h = 60 min;
- for a working day of > 7 h = 90 min.
At their request, breastfeeding women must be able to lie down and rest in suitable conditions. They must give their consent to be employed and, on ordinary notice, they may be exempted from going to work or may leave work.
Paternity Leave / Marriage for all
The bill for paid paternity leave came into force on 1 January 2021. This means that fathers can take two weeks’ paid leave within six months of the birth of their child. As with maternity leave, paternity leave is via the loss-of-earnings compensation scheme (LEC). (Art. 329g OR)
The acceptance of the ‘Marriage for all’ proposal in September 2021 required amendments to the legislation. These came into effect on 1 July 2022. As a result, the mother’s wife is now considered the co-parent if she was married to the mother at the time of the child’s birth and if that child was conceived through a sperm donation in accordance with the Reproductive Medicine Act. As a co-parent, the mother’s wife is therefore entitled to ‘paternity leave’ provided under the loss-of-earnings compensation scheme (LEC).