Before Giving Birth to a Child
- Maternity Regulations [Mutterschutzbestimmungen]
- Maternity Pay [Wochengeld]
- Mother-Child-Booklet [Mutter-Kind-Pass]
- Pregnancy Counselling
- Birthing Classes
- Exercise Classes for Pregnant Women
- More Information
- Related Links
Maternity Act [Mutterschutzgesetz]
Maternity regulations are intended to protect your health as (an expectant) a mother as well as the health of your baby. However, these regulations can only come into effect once your employer has been informed about your pregnancy.
The protection provisions of the Mutterschutzgesetz apply to the following people:
- Female workers
- Female employees
- Female apprentices
Furthermore, these provisions apply with deviations to the following people:
- Female homeworkers
- Housemaids and mother's helps
- Contracts agents and civil servants
- Civil servants of the federal state and municipal authorities
- Female teachers employed by a federal state
Special maternity regulations do not apply to self-employed women (in trade, agriculture, and forestry).
As soon as your employer has been informed about your pregnancy, the maternity regulations according to the maternity act have to be complied with.
Your employer has to immediately inform the responsible labour affairs office [Arbeitsinspektorat] and hand out a copy of this notification to you. In case of premature delivery, you should inform your employer in time in order to avoid problems when calculating your statutory maternity leave [Schutzfrist] and maternity pay [Wochengeld].
Eight weeks after the delivery [Schutzfrist] employees are not allowed to be employed, even though they would like to work.
- In case of premature, multiple or caesarean births the period will be extended to at least 12 weeks
- If the statutory maternity leave [Schutzfrist] has been reduced before delivery, the period extends according to that reduction after delivery (16 weeks at the longest)
- In case of unemployability of the mother: The employee has to inform the employer about her inability to work immediately (a medical assessment has to be submitted on demand of the employer).
During the following periods employees are not allowed to be dismissed (any dismissals are legally ineffective):
- During pregnancy and until four months after delivery
- After the dismissal if the employee announces her pregnancy within a certain period of time:
- Oral dismissal: notification of the pregnancy within five working days after the oral dismissal
- Written dismissal: notification of the pregnancy within five working days after the written dismissal has been delivered
- Employee’s obligation to provide proof of pregnancy:
The pregnancy or its assumption has to be proven by a medical proof of pregnancy or the delivery of the child by submitting the child’s birth certificate (at the same time as the notification of the pregnancy or birth)
- Maternity leave: until four weeks after demands, at the longest however until four weeks after the child reaches the age of two years
- Part-time employment: until four weeks after the end of the part-time employment, however, at the latest by four weeks after the child reaches the age of four years
During pregnancy and after giving birth, mothers may not perform hard physical work.
Up to twelve weeks after delivery the following work may be restricted:
- Lifting and carrying heavy loads
- Work predominantly performed while standing
- Work which may lead to the risk of a work-related illness
If you qualify for any work restriction, your employer is required to offer you a different place of work. If this is not possible, your employer is obliged to continue paying your wages (without overtime, however).
Please contact the Labour Affairs Office [Arbeitsinspektorat] for further information on work restrictions that might apply to you.
If an employee becomes pregnant, both the employee and the employer are required to notify relevant persons and provide medical proof of the pregnancy:
The employee must
- Immediately inform her employer about her pregnancy and the expected due date as soon as she finds out that she is pregnant
- Provide her employer with medical proof of her pregnancy and the presumed delivery date upon request
- Alert her employer to the start of her maternity leave [Schutzfrist] during the fourth week prior to its start
- Inform her employer in the event that the pregnancy is terminated prematurely
The employer must
- In the event of an employee becoming pregnant, notify (in writing) the respective Labour Affairs Office [Arbeitsinspektorat] of the pregnancy and provide the following information about the future mother:
- place of work
- presumed delivery date
- Hand out a copy of the notification sent to the Labour Affairs Office [Arbeitsinspektorat]
- Inform the head of the company’s medical unit (if one exists) accordingly,
- Issue a work and remuneration confirmation [Arbeits- und Entgeltbestätigung] so that the employee can claim maternity pay [Wochengeld].
In addition, personnel leasing firms must notify the responsible Labour Affairs Office [Arbeitsinspektorat] if a pregnant employee’s employer should change or if she changes jobs frequently and at short notice.
Expectant mothers are not allowed to work beyond the eighth week prior to the expected delivery date. You are then on maternity leave [Mutterschutz]. Maternity pay is intended as financial support for the expectant mother during this period and is paid as a substitute for missed income.
Maternity pay is paid during the following periods:
- In the eight weeks prior to the expected delivery date
- On the day the baby is born
- In the eight weeks following the baby’s birth
(In case of a multiple, premature or caesarean births: up to twelve weeks after delivery)
If your public health officer has prohibited you to work prior to the start of your statutory maternity leave or afterwards, maternity pay will be paid for the duration such ban is in effect.
If you are an employee, the amount of maternity pay is based on your net wage during the last three months. Additionally you will receive an extra amount for benefits such as vacation and Christmas bonuses.
Self-employed women will receive income-based maternity pay.
Marginally employed self-insured women (only if self-insured pursuant to § 19a ASVG) will receive a fixed amount of 8.91 Euro per day (amount for 2016).
Recipients of benefits according to the Unemployment Insurance Act [Arbeitslosenversicherungsgesetz] will receive maternity pay amounting to 180 per cent of the amount of benefits received last.
Recipients of childcare allowance [Kinderbetreuungsgeld] will receive maternity pay for a further expected child, if they were entitled to maternity pay at the previous pregnancy (meaning that child for which you have received childcare allowance up to now) and if they get childcare allowance at the beginning of the statutory maternity leave.
If you have received flat-rate childcare allowance when starting your maternity leave for a further child, the maternity pay will amount to 180 per cent of the 436 Euro per month (= payment option 30+6 months of the childcare allowance).
If you have received income-related childcare allowance when starting your maternity leave for a further child, the maternity pay will amount 125 per cent of the income-related childcare allowance.
Self-employed women who pursue a trade and farmers are eligible for operational support [Betriebshilfe] as a form of maternity benefits. If no operational support is granted, you may be able to claim maternity pay amounting to 52.69 Euro per day (amount for 2016). This applies particularly to self-employed women who do not pursue a trade.
To claim maternity pay prior to delivery:
- Employment and wage confirmation for maternity pay or
- "Mitteilung über den Leistungsanspruch" [Information regarding entitlement to benefits] if you draw benefits according to the Unemployment Insurance Act [Arbeitslosenversicherungsgesetz, AlVG] such as unemployment benefits [Arbeitslosengeld] or emergency welfare [Notstandshilfe], or if you receive childcare allowance [Kinderbetreuungsgeld] prior to the eight-weeks protection period
- Medical certificate of the expected due date or in case of early maternity leave an exemption certificate
To claim maternity pay after delivery: additionally
- The child’s birth certificate [Geburtsurkunde]
- Certificate issued by the hospital in case of a premature, multiple or caesarean birth
Your health insurance company [Krankenversicherungsträger]
The Mother-Child-Booklet is used for the health precautions of the pregnant women and the children. It contains the medical examinations of the Mother-Child-Programme, which are carried out during pregnancy and until the child reaches the age of five years. All compulsory examinations are important for mother and child. The examinations are only free of charge if panel doctors are consulted.
Before the examination women who are not self-insured need an entitlement evidence [Anspruchsbeleg] from the regional health insurance that is responsible for your place of living. With this slip the particular Mother-Child-Booklet examinations can be done by a panel doctor of the health insurance company.Important Note:
In order to be eligible for childcare allowance [Kinderbetreuungsgeld] you must have the five examinations during the pregnancy and the five examinations during the first 14 months after the child was born done correctly and obtain proof of it. Please make sure to have your examinations in the time period prescribed. If you miss one (or several) exams, in case of late examinations or if you do not obtain proof of the examinations for your health insurer, your childcare allowance will shortened.
As soon as you find out you are pregnant it is important to be in regular medical care by a gynaecologist. This is the only way to be able to treat the slightest symptoms of any health condition in time. You should also have the prenatal examinations recommended in the Mother-Child-Booklet done in time. The Medical Associations of the federal states [Ärztekammern der Bundesländer] will assist you in finding a doctor according to her/his specialisation or based on other criteria.
- Parent child centres [Eltern-Kind-Zentren]
- Midwives [Hebammen]
- Family and partner counselling offices [Familien- und Partnerberatungsstellen]
In Austria, the following institutions and people offer birthing classes:
- Maternity wards of hospitals
- Midwives [Hebammen]
- Adult education schools [Volkshochschulen]
- Private organisations, such as NANAYA, a counselling centre for pregnancy, birth and living with children in Vienna [NANAYA – Zentrum für Schwangerschaft, Geburt und Leben mit Kindern in Wien]
Prenatal exercise classes are offered throughout the whole of Austria by maternity wards, midwives [Hebammen] and parent child centres [Eltern-Kind-Zentren] sponsored by the Youth and Family Offices [Amt für Jugend und Familie].
Additional information can be found on the German website at HELP.gv.at.
HELP Editorial Staff