Maternity leave

Maternity leave

In principle, women in employment are entitled to maternity benefits when their child is born. Under certain conditions, women who are not employed at the time of giving birth may also be entitled to maternity benefits.

If a young mother does not meet the conditions for entitlement to maternity benefits, she will be entitled to her salary for a certain period, paid by her employer.


The entitlement to maternity benefits starts on the day of childbirth. If the child is stillborn, the mother will be entitled to maternity leave if the pregnancy lasted at least a certain period of time.


Maternity benefit is paid in the form of a daily allowance. It is calculated on the basis of the mother's income before giving birth. This benefit is subject to certain social security contributions.

However, there is a ceiling on this amount. Female executives are likely to be penalized. Under certain conditions, the employer will have to supplement the employee's maternity allowance during the maternity leave.


The purpose of maternity leave is to allow the employee to devote herself to her baby during its first weeks of life and to recover from the pregnancy and childbirth. Maternity benefits are paid for 14 weeks. Under certain conditions, the employee can decide to return to work before this date. Such a decision has consequences for the entitlement to maternity benefits.


The employer sometimes needs to replace an employee who has gone on maternity leave for organizational reasons. However, the absence of the employee is not always foreseeable, especially if she is unable to work or if she wants to continue her maternity leave by taking nursing leave. The employer will have to choose wisely between a fixed-term contract and a minimum-term contract.


Absences to look after her sick child, less flexibility in working hours, request for a reduction in the rate of activity... The return to working life of a young mother may give rise to certain fears on the part of her employer.

Dismissal due to pregnancy, childbirth or family situation is illegal and inadmissible. Under certain conditions, the employee may be able to claim compensation for wrongful termination from her employer. However, she must act promptly.

On the other hand, if the employer has an objective reason for terminating the employee's employment, he or she may terminate the employment contract without the risk of the termination being considered wrongful.

Dismissal of an employee after returning from maternity leave is always particularly delicate. The employer must be able to prove that he has dismissed his employee for objective and non-discriminatory reasons. 

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1 Mar, 2010 byMarianne Favre Moreillon