Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin - Family Support Centre

Maternity Protection and Parental Leave

Maternity protection

Illustration Origami Workshop
Photo: Familienbüro


Maternity leave is mandatory in Germany. The period includes six weeks before birth and eight weeks after birth.

You can also read the following information on maternity protection for employees on the Personnel Division (“Personalabteilung”) website:

When pregnant, you may only work during the six week protection period before the birth if you have expressly stated that you are prepared to do so. You will receive the pay you are contractually due for work during the protection period.

After the birth, you may not be in employment for a period of eight weeks, this part of the maternity leave is non-negotiable. For premature or multiple births this period is extended to twelve weeks. The protection period following the birth is also extended by any part of the six-week protection period which you were unable to take as a result of a premature birth. This ensures that together, the two protection periods add up to at least 14 weeks.

HU has designed its workplace to ensure that the life and health of mother and child are not endangered.

The following work limitations apply in particular:

• Daily working hours limited to 8.5, no heavy manual labour

• No overtime, nighttime work, Sunday work or holiday work

• No work if a medical certificate states that ongoing activity would endanger the health of the mother and child

• No exposure to substances which are hazardous to health, corrosive or toxic

Within this context, Humboldt-Universität works together with the Occupational Health Service to determine whether any change of task or workplace reconfiguration is required, given the person’s current tasks and specific workplace.


Parental leave

All parents are entitled to parental leave in order to care for and raise their child until the child has reached the age of three. For parents with multiple children, this entitlement applies for each child even if the periods overlap. A proportion of the parental leave amounting to up to twelve months may be deferred to a point up until the child’s eighth birthday.

Parental leave may be taken by either parent individually or by both together (including pro rata).

The employee may not be employed for more than an average of 30 hours a week during the period of parental leave.

Part-time work for another employer or freelance work requires the employer’s consent. The employer may only refuse this in writing for urgent operational reasons within a period of four weeks.

The employee may apply for reduced working hours and altered work configuration. The employer and employee must reach an agreement on this application within four weeks.

Employees must request their parental leave in writing from the employer at least seven weeks before it is due to begin.