As a basic principle, pregnant women are not allowed to work in the eight weeks before their due date and for eight weeks (or 12 weeks in the case of premature birth, multiple birth or birth by Caesarean section) after the birth.
Working women who are expecting a baby are generally entitled to financial support during this period of maternal protection (Mutterschutz).
The maternity allowance is roughly equivalent to the average net income for the last three calendar months prior to the prohibition of employment.
Also independent contractors (freie Dienstnehmerinnen) and recipients of unemployment benefits are entitled to receive the maternity allowance.
Self-employed women or farmers are entitled to temporary help during the protection period. This means they will be provided with a person with appropriate training for the work to be performed. Under certain circumstances a maternity allowance as a lump sum can be received instead.
Women in marginal employment are only entitled to the maternity allowance if they have taken out their own insurance for marginal employment.