Kinderfüße auf der Rutsche

Right to maternity care, protection and leave for students

Women students are covered by the protection afforded by the Maternity Protection Act (Mutterschutzgesetz, MuSchG) in key areas. This law is intended to protect the health of students and their children at university during pregnancy, after childbirth and during breastfeeding.

Students should be able to continue their academic studies during pregnancy, after childbirth and during breastfeeding without endangering their health or that of their child. Any discriminatory treatment must be prevented.

As of 01.01.2018, pregnant women and mothers at university are entitled to six-week maternity care and leave before and minimum eight-week leave after childbirth.

In practice, pregnant and breastfeeding students are entitled to the following:

  • During the maternity care and leave period before and after childbirth, female students are exempted from attending courses and exams. However, female students may take part in exams, lectures and seminars during this period if they submit an explicit statement to this effect to the university. This statement can be revoked at any time in the future.

  • Pregnant and breastfeeding students are entitled to compensation for any discriminatory treatment (e.g. compensation for lab work, internships or excursions).

  • During pregnancy and breastfeeding, students have the right to take leave of absence for pregnancy-related check-ups and to breastfeed their child.

Notification and reporting of pregnancy

Pregnant students are not obliged to report their pregnancy, but they are advised, in their own interest, to report their pregnancy as soon as they know they are pregnant to take advantage of the protection afforded under the Maternity Protection Act.

Only by reporting at an early stage can the university avert possible risks to the expectant mother and the unborn child in good time and take necessary protective measures.

For the notification, please send the completed form for maternity protection notification (“Formular zur Mutterschutzanzeige”) together with proof of pregnancy (certificate from a doctor or midwife stating the calculated date of birth) to the Registrar’s Office.


  • by email to:
  • in person to the Registrar’s Office
  • or by post to:
    Ruhr-Universität Bochum
    D – 44780 Bochum

After the notification

After receiving the notification, the university will contact the respective student as soon as possible.

Subsequently, other relevant parties will be informed (the Occupational Safety and Environmental Protection Unit and the Family-friendly University Office) and called in to assist and advise the student. In addition, the Maternity Protection Act requires the university to notify the responsible supervisory authority (the Arnsberg district government).

Prohibition of work at night and on weekends

Without exception, the university mustn’t employ pregnant or breastfeeding students between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m.

The university is also prohibited from allowing pregnant or breastfeeding students to work between 8 p.m. and 10 p.m. and on Sundays and public holidays, unless the following conditions are met:

  1. The student has expressly agreed to do so.
  2. The student must work at this time in order to fulfil her educational requirements.
  3. There is no unacceptable risk to the pregnant student or her child as a result of the respective work.
  4. In the case of work on Sundays and public holidays: the student must be granted an alternative day off in each week, following an uninterrupted night's rest of at least 11 hours.

The pregnant or breastfeeding student may revoke her statement at any time with effect for future work.

Maternity care and protection measures

Some courses and activities may potentially pose a health risk to pregnant students or their unborn children.

This applies mainly to internships in the natural sciences or engineering, workshop or lab work, excursions, outdoor internships, sport practicals, medical studies or teacher training and psychology studies in contact with children and teenagers.

Pregnant students who are exposed to biological or hazardous substances or who come into contact with children and teenagers as part of their studies are expressly requested to report this as early as possible so that protective measures can be implemented in early pregnancy.

In a preliminary assessment, possible hazards are compiled according to the degree programme.

As soon as the university is notified of the pregnancy, an individual risk assessment is carried out, regardless of the degree programme, to determine whether there are any hazards so that appropriate protective measures can be taken if necessary.

Contacts and guidance

The Occupational Safety and Environmental Protection Unit is available to answer any questions about hazards, especially in the natural sciences.

Pregnant students of medicine and students who come in contact with children and teenagers as part of their studies are advised to contact the company doctor at an early stage.

Consultancy and guidance

For questions relating to studying with children and family at the university, please contact:

Bildliche beispielhafte Darstellung eines Dokuments.
Registrar’s Office
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