Maternity protection for students

The new Maternity Protection Act (Mutterschutzgesetz, MuSchG) entered into effect in January 2018. This amended version of the law now applies to women studying at university. The goal is to ensure that the academic requirements and environment do not endanger the health of the mother and her child. At the same time, the law states that students should not suffer any disadvantages on account of their pregnancy, e.g. they should not be forced to interrupt their studies if they do not wish to.

  • This applies to students during pregnancy, after delivery and during the entire nursing period.
  • Maternity protection is extended to all activities necessary for achieving one’s university degree, i.e. courses, examinations, independent research for one’s thesis etc.

Female students are entitled to various protective measures. However, the University of Münster can only comply with its legal obligations provided they notify the University of their condition through the Student Maternity Protection Coordination Office (see contact below). Our office provides information about all aspects of the Maternity Protection Act and can offer you non-binding consultation if desired. Moreover, we are responsible for initiating individual protective measures.

For general information about maternity protection, please consult the Maternity Protection Guidelines published by the Federal Ministry of Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth.

  • Contact

    The Coordination Office can provide you with extensive information on the implementation of the Maternity Protection Act at the University of Münster, as well as matters related to maternity leave and recognition of health risks. We can answer any questions you have concerning individual maternity protection at the University.

    Student Maternity Protection Coordination Office
    Dr Martina Kobras
    koordinierung.mutterschutzgesetz@uni-muenster.de
    Tel.: +49 251 83 21538

    You are free to decide if and when to notify the University of Münster that you are expecting or have already had a child. In the interest of protecting pregnant students and new mothers, we strongly recommend informing the University of your pregnancy and prospective delivery. This applies even if you do not foresee any health risks related to your subject of study.
    We kindly ask you to contact the Student Maternity Protection Coordination Office by email or phone listed above.
    Even if you are looking for non-binding consultation, we are the contact office for you at the University of Münster. You will only be “registered” once you have submitted various documents.


    Advantages

    • You receive comprehensive information about maternity protection for students at the University of Münster.
    • The health risks your studies could pose to you or your child are assessed, and appropriate measures are implemented to avoid these.
    • You don’t have to do anything – the Coordination Office initiates all measures for protecting expecting and nursing mothers.
    • You will be invited to speak with the someone in your faculty to discuss protective measures or alternative solutions. You can also discuss further adjustments to your study requirements as your situation requires.


    Data protection

    In order to properly assist you, the Coordination Office must collect some personal data. It notifies the relevant staff members at the University and others to ensure that both you and your child receive the protection you need.
    Compliance with all relevant data protection policies is guaranteed with respect to collecting, processing and storing your personal data. Download personal data sheet in accordance with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

  • Health Risks and Protective Measures

    Participating in university courses and activities can result in health risks to mothers or their unborn children. This particularly applies to laboratory tasks, excursions and outdoor activities, sports events and musical performances, or contact with children (e.g. in teaching degrees or teaching placements).
    In order to avoid overworking expecting mothers, university-related activities between 8 pm and 6 am, on Sundays or public holidays are not permitted. If you wish to participate in a course (required by your degree programme) during the times mentioned above despite the protection you are legally entitled to, you may request an exemption under certain circumstances.
    If your studies pose potential health risks to you or your unborn child, the University tries to avoid these by modifying the study requirements for the course(s) in question. If these measures are impractical or inadequate, the University will try to provide you with alternative solutions. Implementing minor, flexible solutions in consultation with the faculty is normally sufficient to enable you to continue participating in the courses and take examinations.

    The Coordination Office can provide you with detailed information about these topics and initiate the necessary measures.

  • Maternity Leave

    Maternity leave consists of six weeks prior to delivery and eight to twelve weeks afterward. During this period, the University cannot demand that you perform any academic activity. Of course, this does not mean you are not allowed to complete assignments or examinations during your maternity leave. The rule is meant to make it easier for you to postpone academic requirements or examinations if you so desire.
    It is completely up to you whether to complete any further academic requirements or take a break from your studies.

    The Coordination Office can make sure that all aspects of your maternity leave proceed smoothly.

  • Work placements/Teaching degrees/Students employed at the WWU

    Work placements

    If you plan on completing a work placement during your pregnancy and/or nursing period, please inform the work placement provider about your situation. The provider must ensure that your activities comply with the provisions of the Maternity Protection Act (MuSchG).


    Teaching degrees

    If you are about to start a teaching placement or practical semester at a school, you are obliged to inform the University Centre for Teacher Education (ZfL) and – very important! – the respective school about your pregnancy and/or nursing period. Also please remember to notify the central Coordination Office.


    Students employed at the University of Münster

    If the University of Münster is also your employer, please inform your immediate supervisor, as well as the central Coordination Office, about your pregnancy and/or nursing period. As an employee, you are also entitled to certain rights provided by the Maternity Protection Act.

  • Further WWU counselling offices and contacts

    In addition to the Student Maternity Protection Coordination Office, the following contacts can provide you with helpful advice and information:

    There are a number of other counselling services [de] available at the University of Münster which provide information and advice on studying while pregnant or while raising children.