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Statutory maternity leave for students

Statutory maternity leave for students

The new Maternity Protection Act will come into force on 1 January 2018.
From this date on, students will also enjoy full statutory maternity leave, i.e. the law offers the best possible health protection for pregnant and breastfeeding students.

What should I do once I know that I’m pregnant?

According to Section 15 of the Maternity Protection Act, you should inform the University of Oldenburg of your pregnancy and due date as soon as possible. The same applies to breastfeeding. The University is legally obliged to implement the necessary protective measures following the notification of your pregnancy or breastfeeding in order to comply with statutory maternity leave requirements. You do not have to apply for statutory maternity leave; your consent is not required to secure statutory maternity leave.

The earlier you inform us that you are pregnant or breastfeeding, the better we can ensure effective statutory maternity leaven based on an individual assessment of your academic circumstances.

The exact procedure is explained in Stud.IP under the section “How do I report that I’m pregnant or breastfeeding?

How long do I enjoy maternity rights?

You are protected under the law from the moment of your notification via Stud.IP until the end of your statutory maternity leave or, if breastfeeding is indicated, until you stop breastfeeding.

Statutory maternity leave starts six weeks before your expected due date and lasts until eight weeks after giving birth. Statutory maternity leave is extended to twelve weeks after giving birth in the case of multiple births pursuant to Section 3 of the Maternity Protection Act.

Which academic activities are subject to the provisions of the Maternity Protection Act?

Maternity rights for students apply to all academic activities that are compulsory for completing the degree programme (classes, examinations, excursions, etc.) according to the study and examination regulations.

A relative ban on examinations and attendance applies during this period: students are not permitted to take examinations or attend classes during this period. The ban applies as long as no risk assessment has been drawn up and checked. It must document that there is no danger from attending the class / taking the course or that suitable protective measures can be taken to enable attendance.

What should be considered during statutory maternity leave before and after giving birth?

During statutory maternity leave, which starts six weeks before and lasts until eight weeks after giving birth – (exceptions to this period are set out in Section 3 of the Maternity Protection Act), you have certain maternity rights. You are not expected to attend any academic activities (classes, examinations, etc.) during this time. Should you still wish to attend classes or sit examinations during your statutory maternity leave, you can waive this special right. You can do this by filling out this contact form for the Examinations Office.

You can reinstate your rights at any time.

I would like to attend classes during my statutory maternity leave. What do I need to do?

If you would like to attend classes / sit examinations during your statutory maternity leave, you must expressly declare your intention to attend. Unlike for staff, this is possible not only for the six weeks before but also for the eight weeks after you give birth. Please use this contact form for students to apply for a waiver at the Examinations Office: Contact form for the Examinations Office

The Examinations Office will advise you on questions regarding compensation for disadvantages when taking examinations and waiving the right to statutory maternity leave. 

The waiver declaration may be revoked at any time with effect for the future.

What advantages do I have by reporting that I’m pregnant or breastfeeding?

Reporting that you are pregnant/breastfeeding helps protect your health and that of your (unborn) child. Anything that could endanger your health or that of your child according to statutory maternity leave regulations must be prevented by taking appropriate protective measures. As long as your health or that of your child is not at risk, no changes will be made through protective measures to your studies. 

During your pregnancy and when breastfeeding (in the first twelve months after the birth), students have the right to take time off for pregnancy-related check-ups and to breastfeed the child, without any disadvantages arising from this.

For any disadvantages that could arise from reporting your pregnancy, compensation for disadvantages (deadline extensions, other examination formats, compensatory measures, etc.) must first be examined.

Who will find out about my pregnancy?

According to Section 27 of the Maternity Protection Act, the University of Oldenburg (Admissions Office) is required to inform the City of Oldenburg Health and Safety Authority of any notifications of students who are pregnant or breastfeeding.

In order to prepare risk assessments, the responsible lecturers of the courses attended (in case of delay also the corresponding representative/Dean of Studies Office), the University Health and Safety Unit and the university’s occupational health service are informed about the pregnancy/breastfeeding. This is done in conjunction with the initiation of the risk assessment for each individual component of a module.

How do I report that I’m pregnant or breastfeeding?

You can inform the University that you are pregnant or breastfeeding in Stud.IP. To do this, log into your Stud.IP profile as usual and click on the “Work place” tile. Then click on the tile “Statutory Maternity Leave” (so far only in German available „Mutterschutz”).  Here, you will find the registration form. Please have a copy of your pregnancy record or a certificate from the medical professional overseeing your pregnancy ready as a PDF file.

Once you have submitted the form, a notification will be sent to the Oldenburg Health and Safety Authority and the responsible lecturer for your respective course will be notified. They will draft an individual risk assessment, examining your academic circumstances for risks and dangers to you and your child. The risk assessment may also require necessary protective measures to be specified. 

These assessments are then passed on to the Health and Safety Unit and the university doctor in Stud.IP for them to examine and a statement will be prepared and sent by post to the Health and Safety Authority.

What happens if I don’t report that I’m pregnant or breastfeeding?

You are not required by law to inform us of your pregnancy.

However, we at the University of Oldenburg can only fulfil our duty of care in terms of maternity rights if you inform the University that you are pregnant or breastfeeding. It is therefore in your own interest to inform us early on so that protective and compensatory measures can be agreed and implemented in good time.

Can I take a leave of absence whilst pregnant or breastfeeding?

According to the matriculation regulations, you may take a leave of absence for up to 3 semesters without having to give a reason. Parental leave is an exception in this case. If you are caring for a child, you are entitled to a leave of absence of up to a maximum of six semesters up to the end of the child's eighth year. 

You must request a leave of absence from the Admissions Office within one month of the start of lectures via your student account in Stud.IP under Study data > Service > Requests . We recommend submitting your request during the re-registration period so that you do not receive any reminders or you are not de-registered for not re-registering.

More information about a leave of absence

Consequences of Covid-19:

By decision dated 19 February 2020, the Federal Institute for Occupational Safety and Health and the Committee on Biological Agents (ABAS) have provisionally classified SARS-CoV-2 in risk group 3 according to the Biological Agents Ordinance as a preventative measure in view of the available epidemiological data. According to current knowledge, the virus can be transmitted through the inhalation of aerosols as well as through contact with mucous membranes (nose, mouth, eyes). This means that there may be a risk to pregnant and breastfeeding people from bio-substances in the university area.

In addition to the legal requirements of the Maternity Protection Act, special measures must be taken to protect pregnant people and (unborn) children from the risks posed by coronavirus. Before commencing any activity, both a risk assessment (for statutory maternity leave) and the associated statement must be available.

Law on the new regulation of maternity protection

You can currently find the latest information on the pages of the Bundesanzeiger (federal journal).

(Changed: 15 Nov 2023)  | 
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