Introduction and objectives
Since 2018, the "Mutterschutzgesetz or MuSchG" (maternity protection act) also applies to university students in Germany (§ 1 para. 2 sentence 2 no. 8 MuSchG).
The aim of this act is to protect the health of the student and her child during the pregnancy, after childbirth and during the breastfeeding period. The act allows the student to continue her studies without risk to her health or that of her child. The act also works to reduce disadvantages during pregnancy, after childbirth and during the breastfeeding period. Regulations in other occupational safety laws ("Arbeitsschutzgesetz") remain unaffected.
The university must not allow a pregnant student in the last six weeks before the projected birth date to continue her studies, unless she expressly agrees to do so. She can revoke this agreement with future effect at any time. The projected date of childbirth as stated in a medical certificate or a certificate issued by a midwife determines the protection period before childbirth. If the birth does not take place on that date, the protection period is reduced or extended accordingly (§ 3 MuSchG).
For a period of eight weeks after childbirth the university must not allow the student to study. The university may allow the student to continue her studies during the protection period after childbirth if she expressly requests to do so. The student can revoke this agreement with future effect at any time.
The protection period after childbirth is extended to twelve weeks in the following cases:
1. premature births,
2. multiple births, and
3. if a doctor determines a disability of the child as per § 2 para. 1 sentence 1 "Neuntes Buch Sozialgesetzbuch" (Ninth German social code) before eight weeks have passed after the birth of the child.
In case of premature birth, the protection period after child birth is usually extended by the time the protection period before childbirth was shortened. In case of no. 3, the student must request this extension.
Disadvantages due to the pregnancy, childbirth or breast-feeding period must be avoided or counterbalanced (§ 9 para. 1 sentence 4 MuSchG).
Notification, documentation and procedure
If you are pregnant, please notify the university of your pregnancy and the projected date of birth as soon as you have learnt about the pregnancy. If you are breastfeeding your child, please inform the university about it as soon as possible (§ 15 MuSchG).
Please submit a medical certificate or a certificate issued by a midwife, confirming your pregnancy and stating the expected date of birth, to the university.
You can either submit the original certificate and a copy, or a certified copy, to the Student Service Centre (SSZ) on level B4. The same applies to declarations for continuing studies within the maternity protection period. You will be refunded any costs for issuing this certificate if you submit the original receipt (§ 9 para. 6 sentence 2 MuSchG). In order that further (protective) measures according to the MuSchG can be identified and implemented promptly, we inform the responsible offices about your notification. This are usually the department responsible for you (sometimes several), which also prepares the prescribed risk assessment and discusses it with you (§ 10 MuSchG), as well as the supervisory body of the "Regierungspräsidium Freiburg" (regional council) (§ 27 MuSchG).
Information and support
Do you have any questions on studying-with-children and family at the university? The staff members of the Office for Equal Opportunity, Family Affairs and Diversity will gladly answer your questions. Please note: it currently takes place online by appointment via email. You can also reach the counselling service by calling +49 7531 88-2160.
You can also call in at +49 7531 88-4428 during these office hours or send an email any time.
You are welcome to make a personal appointment with the university's in-house physician. Especially if you are enroled in a study programme in sciences or in sports. Phone: +49 7531 88-2668 or send an email.
For questions on BAföG (German Federal Training Assistance Act) for students with children, please contact the Seezeit BAföG office. It is paid as additional allowance for childcare for each child ('Kinderbetreuungszuschlag') (§ 14b BAföG) if the children are under 10 years old and live in your household. The allowance is paid as a lump sum which means that you do not have to document the childcare costs. You will not have to pay back the childcare allowance.
In the evening or night (§ 5 para. 2 MuSchG)
As a rule, a pregnant or breastfeeding student must not take part in courses and study-related activities between 20:00 and 6:00. The student may take part in courses and other study-related activities if
1. she explicitly agrees to do so,
2. the participation during that time is required for her studies and
3. irresponsible endangerment of the pregnant student or her child through working alone can definitely be avoided.
The pregnant or breastfeeding student can revoke this agreement with future effect at any time. Continuing with studies after 22:00 is prohibited in all cases.
Sundays and public holidays (§ 6 para. 2 MuSchG)
As a rule, a pregnant or breastfeeding student must not take part in courses and study-related activities on Sundays or public holidays. The student may take part in courses and other study-related activities on Sundays and public holidays if
1. she explicitly agrees to do so,
2. the participation during that time is required for her studies,
3. she is subsequently granted an uninterrupted night's rest of at least eleven hours as well as another day of rest during the week after the course/activities and
4. irresponsible endangerment of the pregnant student or her child through working alone can definitely be avoided.
The pregnant or breastfeeding student can revoke this agreement with future effect at any time.