Pregnancy and maternity

Living in Europe | Day care, schooling & family related issues | Switzerland

Protection of pregnant women and mothers at work

Pregnant women and mothers benefit from special protective measures for the period up to the birth, after the birth and while breast-feeding.

The number of working hours is restricted to nine hours a day, and there is a ban on work at night for at least eight weeks before the birth. Pregnant women may not engage in arduous or dangerous work and come into contact with substances that are harmful to health, etc.

Pregnant women who are employed, but unable to go to work, receive their wages for a limited period in the case of illness or accident.

The working relationship may not be terminated during the entire period of the pregnancy or in the first 16 weeks after the birth of the child.

Maternity leave

As an employee you are entitled to a minimum of 14 weeks paid maternity leave (98 days) beginning from the day of the birth, as long as (LAPG Art.16b):

  • you have been insured with the AVS during the 9 months previous to giving birth

  • you have worked for at least 5 months during the period before giving birth

Both full-time and part-time employees are entitled to maternity leave. During maternity leave, you are entitled to receive payment of 80% of your salary, but not more than CHF 196 per day. If you wish, you may stay at home with your child up until the 16th week following the birth; you are not obliged to go to work (LTr Art. 35a, al. 3). These two extra weeks will however not necessarily be paid.

If your newborn baby has to remain in hospital longer than 3 weeks, you may ask for the payment of your allowance to be postponed (LAPG Art. 16c, RAPG Art. 24).

Paternity leave

Under federal legislation, gainfully employed mothers are entitled to maternity leave, but there is no law granting fathers the right to paternity leave. In practice, however, there are several options allowing new fathers to take time off for the birth of their children.

In the private sector, employers must grant employees “regular working hours and days” off for family events. New fathers can therefore ask their employers for one to two days off for the birth of their child. These details are set out in your employment contract.

Increasingly, public and private employers are offering future fathers the opportunity to take paternity leave following the birth of their child. Contact your employer directly to find out whether your company offers this opportunity and to find out more about it.