About the Maternity Protection Act

Dear students,

As of 1 January 2018, Germany’s Maternity Protection Act (Mutterschutzgesetz, MuSchuG) applies to pregnant students as well, granting special legal protections during pregnancy and nursing periods. These include, for example, a legally protected maternity leave before and after your pregnancy (generally 6 weeks prior to birth and 8 weeks afterwards), as well as a right to alternative arrangements for courses and/or lectures held during this time.

Disclosing your pregnancy to HSRW

In order to claim and assert your legal rights, you must officially disclose your pregnancy and/or nursing period to HSRW (pursuant to § 15 MuSchuG). We cannot obligate you to do this: it is ultimately your decision. Naturally, we recommend you do contact us so that we can help you better understand your legal rights as a mother-to-be and avoid potential health risks related to your studies as early as possible. To disclose a pregnancy, please contact the Study Guide for your faculty (see below).

Risk assessment and alternative arrangements

Some of your modules may pose potential health risks to you or your baby, for example labs in technical or scientific degree programmes, activities involving young children in Early Childhood Education B.A.  Accordingly, Rhine-Waal University is obligated by law to assess your degree programme for potential risks and adhere to this assessment (refer to § 10 MuShuG).

In Germany, maternity protection includes leave before and after birth (generally 6 weeks before and 8 weeks after) as well as the right to alternative arrangements for courses and exams scheduled during this time. Section 6 (4) of the General Examination Regulations (RPO) stipulates that examinations must properly account for students’ rights to maternity leave as well as leaves of absence for family care obligations. Generally, you must submit a written request to your Examination Board before asserting your legal rights. Additional information can be found in §64 (2) and (5) of the Higher Education Act of North Rhine-Westphalia (Hochschulgesetz NRW).

In any case, expecting mothers should definitely contact the head teacher of their modules to discuss individual solutions and suitable alternative study/examination arrangements. Alternative arrangements are not always possible, especially in the case of modules considered too risky to attend. Regardless, your Examination Board and instructor will work with you to find the most ideal and feasible solution, if at all possible, to avoid any delays to your graduation progress.

Rhine-Waal University of Applied Sciences can advise you on your legal rights, work together with you to plan the next steps, and, if needed, connect you with other advisors and support services both on and off campus. The Study Guides are always ready to help, so please contact them for support or to disclose a pregnancy:

Study Guides

Faculty of Technology and Bionics

Elena Buksmann



Faculty of Life Sciences

Laura Preisker



Faculty of Society and Economics

Verena Macziejek



Faculty of Communication and Environment

Elena Buksmann



Disclosing your personal data

Rest assured: any information pertaining to your pregnancy will be treated with utmost discretion and only processed or disclosed to the extent required for internal processes or legal obligations arising from the Maternity Protection Act.   

We will keep you clearly informed at all times about who has been notified of your pregnancy / nursing period (Examination Services / Board, lab managers etc.) and why (examinations, risk assessments, maternity leave).

The Maternity Protection Act also obligates us to report pregnancies which have been disclosed to us to our supervisory authority (in this case, the district government of Düsseldorf) and provide information about you and the pregnancy (§27 MuSchuG). We will also inform you transparently about any data we transmit to our supervisory authority.

Legal text and informational brochures

Rhine-Waal University of Applied Sciences is obligated to make the Maternity Protection Act accessible to students (§26 MuSchuG). The full text can be found here in German.

An overview of key points and a wide range of other useful tips can also be found in the brochure “Leitfaden zum Mutterschutz” (Guide to Maternity Protection) published by the Federal Ministry for Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth. Full text only available in German for a brief description of the regulations in English see

The most current version of the Higher Education Act of North Rhine-Westphalia can be found here. Only available in German

If you have any questions about the Maternity Protection Act or your legal rights and obligations, please contact the Study Guide for your faculty.

Furthermore PME Family Service offers all members of Rhine-Waal University a wide range of professional information, counseling, mediation and help with childcare arrangements e.g. for free.