Maternity allowance

General information

Expectant mothers cannot be in employment beyond eight weeks prior to the baby's due date. From that point onwards, they are considered to be on maternity leave. Maternity allowance is designed to provide financial support during this period of maternity leave and replace lost income. Maternity allowance is paid monthly in arrears.

Maternity allowance is paid over the following periods:

  • For eight weeks immediately prior to the due date.
  • The day of the birth
  • For eight weeks after the birth
    (twelve weeks for multiple births, premature births or births by caesarean section)

For the purposes of maternity allowance, a premature birth is defined as a birth before the end of the 37th week of the pregnancy.

Maternity allowance is paid monthly in arrears.

If a specialist physician, an occupational health specialist from the Arbeitsinspektion (health and safety inspectorate) or an officially accredited physician imposes a ban on employment that starts prior to the beginning of the period of maternity leave, or that extends beyond the date on which the period of maternity leave would normally come to an end, maternity allowance will continue to be paid for the duration of the ban.

The dates of the eight week period prior to the due date will be determined for the purposes of maternity allowance on the basis of a medical certificate. If the birth takes place at a different time/date to that assumed by the physician who issued the certificate, the period over which maternity allowance will be paid prior to the birth will be extended or reduced accordingly. If the period of maternity leave (and, by extension, the period over which maternity allowance is paid) is reduced prior to the birth (i.e. if the baby is born earlier than expected), the maternity leave will generally be extended accordingly following the birth, up to a maximum of 16 weeks.

For employees in work, the amount of maternity allowance paid will be consistent with their last three net salary payments before the period of maternity leave began. A supplement is payable in respect of any one-off payments, such as holiday or Christmas bonuses.

Self-employed contractors receive maternity allowance dependent on their income.

Self-insured people on low incomes, (provided they are self-insured under Section 19a) receive a fixed rate of 9.61/day Euro (as of 2021). Expectant mothers in receipt of unemployment benefits under the AlVG (Unemployment Insurance Act) usually receive maternity allowance amounting to 180 per cent of their last benefit payment.

Expectant mothers in receipt of childcare benefits are only entitled to maternity allowance for a further child they are expecting if they were entitled to maternity allowance in respect of their previous child (i.e. the child/children for whom they are already receiving childcare benefits), and if they have an entitlement to maternity allowance when their period of maternity leave begins. The maternity allowance paid will usually be in line with the expectant mother's last childcare benefit payment. 

Advice

If you are in receipt of an additional income in addition to maternity allowance, your entitlement to maternity allowance up to the value of the additional income may be suspended.

Requirements

The following categories of people are entitled to maternity allowance:

Tip

Self-employed women in work who practice a trade, as well as farmers, also receive operating assistance as a benefit in kind as part of their maternity benefit. If no assistance is provided, they may also be entitled to maternity allowance amounting to 56.87 per day Euro (as of 2021). Specifically, this provision applies to self-employed women in work who are not practising a trade (newly self-employed).

Deadlines

You can apply for maternity allowance from the beginning of the eighth week prior to the baby's due date.

Competent authority

Health insurance providers (→ Dachverband der Sozialversicherungsträger)German text

Procedure

You need to apply for maternity benefit at the relevant office. You can provide supporting documentation for your application in person or submit it by post.

You can get the form you will need to confirm you are in work, as well as official confirmation of your earnings, from your employer. If you are in receipt of benefits under the Unemployment Insurance Act or of childcare benefits, you will need a Notification of Entitlement to Benefit (Mitteilung über den Leistungsanspruch). You can obtain this notification from the authority that makes your payments.

Required documents

For applications for maternity allowance before the birth:

  • Confirmation of employment and earnings for maternity allowance purposes, or,
  • if you are in receipt of benefits under the Unemployment Insurance Act (AlVG) – unemployment benefitincome support – and/or childcare benefits before the eight-week maternity leave period begins, Notification of Entitlement to Benefit.
  • A medical certificate confirming the due date or, if the start date of your maternity leave has been brought forward, official confirmation of when you were released from work-related duties.

For applications for maternity allowance after the birth you will need all of the above documents, as well as

  • the child’s birth certificate
  • If the baby was born prematurely, there were multiple births (twins, triplets, etc.) or the baby was delivered by caesarean section, you will need a certificate from the hospital to this effect.
  • Confirmation of your stay in hospital.

Costs and fees

Applications for maternity allowance are free of charge.

Further links

Legal basis

General information on entitlement to maternity allowance, how to apply for maternity allowance and how maternity allowance is paid.

Certified Translation
Last update: 30 June 2022

Responsible for the content: Federal Ministry of Social Affairs, Health, Care and Consumer Protection