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You are pregnant during your probationary period, just when you have landed your dream job. You put a lot of effort into your application. The environment is right because you like the work and the working hours and your colleagues are nice.
There’s just one catch: your employer can terminate your contract at any time during the probationary period. The good news for you: If you are pregnant during the probationary period, the employer cannot terminate your employment.
The Maternity Protection Act applies to you. This protection against dismissal applies during the probationary period and also for four weeks after the birth.
If you are pregnant during your probationary period and your employer terminates your employment, the termination is invalid under the Maternity Protection Act.
Pregnant During The Probationary Period – Must The Employer Be Informed?
You should inform your employer if you are pregnant during your probationary period. According to § 15 of the Maternity Protection Act, pregnant women have a duty to inform. This is for your own protection and health during pregnancy, for example, if you are doing physically heavy work.
The right time to inform the employer is when the pregnancy is actually known. You should inform the employer about the pregnancy and the expected date of birth.
If the employer’s interests are affected if you become pregnant during the probationary period and do not inform him, he can even make you liable for damages.
This applies if
- Employment prohibitions apply during pregnancy, for example night work.
- There are certain hazards in the workplace, such as heavy lifting or hazardous materials.
- Your employment is a key position that requires a longer training period for a replacement employee.
You do not have to be afraid of termination during the probationary period if you inform your employer in time.
Notifying your employer of your pregnancy arises solely from your fiduciary duties to your employer.
What You Should Tell The Employer
It informs about the expected date of birth. This date of birth is the basis for calculating the period of time from which your employer must give you leave before the birth and until which leave is required after the birth.
If your baby comes too early or too late, the deadlines must be adjusted accordingly.
Pregnant – What Now? Termination During The Probationary Period
Section 17 of the Maternity Protection Act stipulates that the employer may not dismiss you during pregnancy and for at least four months after delivery. This also applies during the probationary period.
Even if the employer threatens you with dismissal or gives you verbal notice without a corresponding letter, the protection against dismissal applies during pregnancy.
Pregnant women also have a special right of termination during the probationary period, which serves to provide financial security. Women should also not worry about losing their jobs in the first few months after giving birth.
Termination is not permitted if you are pregnant during the probationary period. If you have received notice of termination, it is invalid.
Notice Of Termination Received During The Probationary Period – What To Do?
If the employee has dismissed you during the probationary period and you are pregnant, you should file an action for protection against dismissal. The labor court will ultimately decide whether the termination is invalid.
You must also file an action for protection against dismissal if you are pregnant during your probationary period and the Maternity Protection Act applies. You have three weeks after receipt of the termination notice to file an action for protection against dismissal.
If you miss this deadline, the termination becomes effective. It does not matter whether you are pregnant during the probationary period.
In order to file an action for protection against dismissal, you should contact a lawyer specializing in labor law. He can advise you precisely and represent your interests before the labor law.
Tip: If you do not have legal expenses insurance and your financial means are not sufficient to pay for the lawyer, you should apply for legal aid. It is best to ask the lawyer about this.
Termination During The Probationary Period And Did Not Know About The Pregnancy
Now it can happen that you get the dismissal during the probationary period and did not know anything about your pregnancy. You cannot always detect a pregnancy in the first few weeks.
In this case, the Maternity Protection Act also applies. If you did not expect to become pregnant during the probationary period, you can invoke special regulations.
You have two weeks to inform your employer about your pregnancy. You should show him your maternity passport.
The employer is then obliged to withdraw the notice. If he does not do so, you can file an action for protection against dismissal.
If you let the two-week period expire, the termination becomes effective.
Exceptions To The Two-Week Period
Pregnant – what now? You received the notice of termination during the probationary period and did not even know that you were pregnant? I
n this case, an exception applies. Even if the two-week period has already passed, you can still inform your employer as soon as you are aware of your pregnancy.
An exception to the two-week period also applies if you received the notice during the probationary period and had no knowledge of the receipt of the notice.
This is possible in the case of hospitalization or vacation. However, a vacation during the probationary period is rather an exception.
You should also present your maternity passport to the employer in this case.
Protection Against Dismissal Even In The Event Of A Miscarriage
A miscarriage is bad enough for young parents. In order not to make the situation even worse, the protection against dismissal during the probationary period also applies in the event of a miscarriage.
The prerequisite for this is that the miscarriage occurs after the 12th week of pregnancy.
The protection against dismissal during the probationary period continues to apply for four months after the occurrence of the miscarriage.
Special Protection Against Dismissal During Parental Leave
Following the birth, you can take up to 24 months of parental leave. Even during parental leave, the employer may not dismiss you.
During parental leave, your employment relationship continues, even if the main duties of the employment relationship are suspended. It is important that you register your parental leave at least eight weeks before it begins.
There is already protection against dismissal during the probationary period eight weeks before the start of parental leave. Protection against dismissal for mothers applies from the beginning of pregnancy until the end of parental leave.
This also applies during the probationary period. However, exceptions also apply here, just as when you are pregnant during the probationary period. After the end of the parental leave, the employer can terminate your employment.
Pregnant During The Probationary Period? Exceptions To The Protection Against Dismissal
The Maternity Protection Act provides for some exceptions if you are pregnant during the probationary period and the employer can still terminate your employment during the probationary period.
The termination must not be related to the pregnancy or to the condition after the delivery or miscarriage. The exceptions are:
- Closure of the business.
- Insolvency of the employee.
- Behavioral reasons on the part of the employee, for example unexcused absence from work or theft in the company.
In all these cases, the employer must obtain a permit from the labor inspectorate. Termination for operational reasons during the probationary period in pregnancy must be in writing.
It must contain the approved and permissible reason for the dismissal. You can also then try to take legal action against the dismissal.
Dismissal During The Probationary Period In The Case Of A Fixed-Term Employment Relationship
If your employment relationship is limited in time, the employer cannot terminate your employment even if you are pregnant during the probationary period.
The fixed term is also effective for protection against dismissal during pregnancy. If the fixed-term employment contract expires during pregnancy, it ends regularly, as if you had not been pregnant.
If the employment contract ends during the probationary period, the employer must employ you until the end of the employment contract. However, you can file an action for protection against dismissal if the fixed term ends after the birth.
For example, if the employment contract ends six months after the birth, the protection against dismissal applies four months after the birth. For the remaining two months, it no longer applies.
If You Give Notice Yourself During The Probationary Period And Pregnancy
During the probationary period, you can give notice yourself at any time if you are dissatisfied with the employment relationship. Pregnancy during the probationary period is irrelevant.
If you give notice yourself, you do not have to comply with the regulations in the Maternity Protection Act. They only apply to the employer.
You can also terminate your employment if the employer has violated the reporting obligations to the supervisory authority.
Termination During The Probationary Period In Training
If you become pregnant during your probationary period and are still in training, you are also protected against dismissal under the Maternity Protection Act.
This is the same case as for employees who have already completed their training and become pregnant during their probationary period.
If you are pregnant during your training and are still in the probationary period, you have various options in a larger company or in the public sector.
You can contact these institutions:
- Youth and trainee representation.
- Works or staff council.
- Responsible trade union.
There you can get help with a complaint against dismissal. If you can no longer stay at the company because of the incident, which is unfavorable for you, you can contact the Chamber of Industry and Commerce or the Chamber of Crafts.
The training advisors will help you find a new training position.
If You Are Already Pregnant When You Apply
Pregnancy is not a reason not to apply, even if most employers do not want to hire a pregnant woman.
The employer must continue to pay wages or salary for at least 14 weeks (six weeks before and eight weeks after childbirth). During this time, the employee is absent.
If parental leave is taken, the wage or salary payment is extended. Employers are not allowed to reject pregnant applicants. However, they often give vague reasons for refusing them.
Even though you should not lie on the application and in the interview: Lying is allowed if you are pregnant. In this way, you can protect yourself from pregnancy discrimination.
Termination during the probationary period is also invalid in this case. However, you should inform your employer about your pregnancy in good time when you start your employment.
This does not have to be the first weeks of pregnancy.
Pregnant During The Probationary Period: Conclusion
If you are pregnant during your probationary period, you are protected against dismissal under the Maternity Protection Act. If the employer dismisses you, the dismissal is not effective.
Only with a few exceptions, for operational or behavioral reasons, the employer may terminate your employment. He must then obtain approval.
The notice of termination may only be given in writing. If there are no such reasons and you are dismissed during the probationary period, you can file an action for protection against dismissal.
In the case of a fixed-term employment relationship, the employment contract also ends with the fixed term in the case of pregnancy.