Reporting your pregnancy to your employer

It is useful to inform your employer as soon as possible about your pregnancy and the due date, preferably through a medical certificate, by registered letter or by handing in a letter in person (signed for receipt).

Certain unhealthy working conditions are banned for pregnant or breastfeeding employees.

Legally prohibited work and working conditions:

  • exposure to noise
  • exposure to high temperatures
  • exposure to chemicals
  • mechanical vibration
  • danger of infection
  • carrying heavy loads during the last three months of pregnancy

The company physician determines if a certain job is dangerous. If that is the case, then the employer must provide the employee with another job in the company. If other jobs are not available at the company, she has a right to incapacity to work benefits, which is paid by the mandatory health insurance. To this end, the health insurer requires an incapacity for work certificate from the company physician and a statement from the employer indicating that it is not possible to provide the employee with alternative work at the company.

The law protects the employee from dismissal from the moment that the employer is aware of the pregnancy until a month after postnatal leave ends. If the employer dismisses the employee in this period without valid grounds, he must pay compensation: a lump sum equal to six months’ gross salary.

It is compulsory to inform the employer about a pregnancy no later than eight weeks before the due date.

Applying for maternity allowance/birth premium

A birth premium is a one-off payment that parents receive at the birth of a child. This premium is also termed maternity allowance. The birth premium is available to both employees and self-employed people. Both are the same amount.

The premium can be applied for from the sixth month of pregnancy.

Usually, the father applies for the birth premium. If he is not an employee, then the mother applies for the birth premium.

Apply for the birth premium at:

  • the employer’s child benefit fund
  • if your are unemployed, ill or retired: the previous employer’s child benefit fund
  • if you have never worked before, are a cross-border worker or employed in education: National Office for Child Benefit for Employees
  • if you are self-employed: social insurance fund

Maternity leave

Prenatal leave

You decide yourself when to begin your maternity leave. Of the six weeks of prenatal leave, you must take at least one week before the due date. You are allowed to convert the remainder into postnatal leave.

Postnatal leave

Postnatal leave always starts from the date of childbirth and must be nine weeks. It can be extended with the transferable part of prenatal leave. So, postnatal leave is up to 14 weeks (nine weeks of postnatal leave and five weeks of converted prenatal leave).

Starting your maternity leave

Submit a doctor’s note or an incapacity-to-work certificate to the advising clinician of your health insurance. This should specify from when all activities were stopped and when the due date is. You will receive an information sheet and a proof of resuming work form. You will need to complete the information sheet as soon as possible and return it to your health insurance. Your employer will be asked about salary information directly by the health insurance. If required, the unemployment office will supply data directly too.

After your baby’s birth

Submit an extract of the birth certificate or a medical certificate confirming the birth.

At the end of postnatal leave

Return the completed proof of resuming work form no later than eight days after your postnatal leave has ended.