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University of Basel

Working and Having a Family

Duty of disclosure in the event of pregnancy

New employment

Employment discrimination against a woman due to pregnancy is prohibited. During an employment interview, if a woman is asked whether she is pregnant (which is actually illegal), she has recourse to the self-defense right to lie: a pregnancy may be denied out of fear that the applicant will not be given the position due to pregnancy or imminent maternity. However, every pregnant woman must decide for herself whether disclosing this information is appropriate or not.

Existing employment

It is always recommended that women notify their superiors promptly about the pregnancy so that they can take the health of the pregnant woman into consideration and plan for maternity leave and any unpaid leave of absence. A pregnant woman can be dismissed during the probationary period (but not due to the actual pregnancy). A woman has the right not to disclose the pregnancy.

Protection against dismissal during pregnancy

A woman cannot be dismissed during the pregnancy and the 16 weeks after the birth. Notice of dismissal given during this period is invalid. Pregnant women, however, may give notice at any time in compliance with the stipulated notice periods. The employment contract can also be terminated at any time upon mutual agreement. However, giving notice before the birth is discouraged because otherwise there is no entitlement to salary compensation. Women who want to cease working after the birth and maternity leave should only terminate their contracts on a date following the birth.

Maternity Protection

Pregnancy, childbirth and the weeks that follow take a toll on the life of a woman and involve certain health risks, which is why special protection is required.

You should therefore notify your supervisor(s) and complete the checklist together with them. If you have answered any questions with 'Yes', please contact the coordinator for occupational safety and health protection Werner Duttweiler.


After their maternity leave, nursing mothers are not permitted to exceed the number of agreed working hours or work more than nine hours per day.

Nursing mothers must be given the necessary time for nursing or expressing breast milk. During the child's first year, the following are counted as working hours:

  • or daily working hours of up to four hours: at least 30 minutes;
  • or daily working hours of more than four hours: at least 60 minutes;
  • or daily working hours of more than seven hours: at least 90 minutes.

Please speak with your supervisor in advance regarding possible places for nursing. Depending on the facilities available and size of the company, the law requires that quiet places for pregnant women and nursing mothers are provided. In practice, however, companies often lack the special infrastructure for this.
In many cases, available meeting rooms or other areas that provide privacy are used.

Mutual tolerance is required to ensure that it is possible for mothers to nurse or express breast milk. Both mothers as well as supervisors must be informed and prepared ahead of time.It is useful to have a discussion concerning expectations and requests from both sides.

Information about nursing and maternity leave can be found on the der Swiss Federal Administration website.

Information, tips, checklists and support on the topic of work and motherhood can be found by going to the mamagenda portal (digital agenda for assisting pregnant staff).

Nursing while on the go? The mamamap app helps you to quickly and easily find a publicly accessible room for nursing near you.

Parental leave

Maternity leave

In cases of pregnancy and maternity, mothers are entitled to 16 weeks of paid leave. This period can begin no earlier than two weeks prior to the expected date of birth and lasts for a minimum of 14 weeks following the birth of the child. If no leave of absence is taken during pregnancy, maternity leave can last a maximum of 16 weeks after the birth.

The employee is entitled to full pay for the entire duration of the paid leave of absence. The application for maternity compensation is submitted by the mother after the birth of the child. The application form can be requested either from the HR office or downloaded from the University of Basel website and then printed out. The staff member completes Part A and submits it to the HR office along with the birth certificate and family register/certificate.

Further information can be found in the University of Basel guidelines for expectant mothers.

If the employment relationship is terminated on the date of birth, the employee is entitled to 14 weeks of maternity compensation. The payment is made by the compensation fund.

For more information on maternity compensation, visit www.ahv-iv.info.

Temporary replacements during leaves of absence

It is generally possible to hire temporary replacement staff who are paid the amount equivalent to the maternity compensation (14 weeks at 80% of the salary of the employee who is on maternity leave).

Paternity leave

The University of Basel allows five days of paternity leave upon the birth of the father's own child.

Parental leave for adoptions

The mother or the father is entitled to a paid absence of four weeks upon formal adoption of a child. Parents are allowed to split the absence.

Unpaid parental leave

To fulfill their parental duties, mothers or fathers are entitled to up to 16 weeks of an unpaid leave of absence following a paid leave of absence. This can be extended upon mutual agreement, and the previous position is guaranteed within the scope of available operational possibilities.

Illness of a family member

If a child becomes ill or personal or family responsibilities arise (illness in the person's own household provided no other care options are available and a medical certificate is presented), staff are entitled to up to three days of paid absence. If this is exceeded, compensation options can be discussed with the person's superiors.

Children's school holidays

There is no automatic entitlement to vacation during children's school holidays. We recommend early discussions with superiors about desired vacation plans. The organizational units are responsible for enforcing vacation rules.

Family and child support allowance

Family allowance is intended to provide partial compensation for the costs incurred by parents in raising their children. It is comprised of child and education allowances as well as childbirth and adoption allowances from the individual cantons.

Essentially, a person is eligible to receive family allowance for all dependent children:

  • own children, regardless of whether or not the parents are married or whether the children are adopted;
  • stepchildren who live mainly in the household of the stepparent or lived there until reaching the age of maturity;
  • foster children taken in without compensation for long-term care and childrearing;
  • siblings and grandchildren for whose care the entitled recipient is predominantly responsible.

Entitlement to family allowance requires submitting the application form for family and child support allowance. The form must be completed and submitted along with the other required documentation to your contact in the HR office. The FAK makes the final decision on the payout of the family allowance based on the documents submitted.

The payment is made by the university. The HR office is to be notified of any changes to marital status, number of children, place of residence, employer of the spouse/partner, etc.

Child allowance

In the canton of Basel-Stadt, the child allowance is CHF 200 per month for each child, from the month of birth up to the month in which the child reaches 16 years of age. For children who are unable to work due to illness or disability, the child allowance is paid up until the month in which the child reaches 20 years of age.

Educational allowance

The educational allowance is CHF 250 per month for each child after the age of 16 until the completion of their degree, but no later than the month in which the child reaches 25 years of age.

Child support allowance

Only employees who are eligible for family allowance according to the decision handed down by the Family Compensation Fund (FAK) are eligible for child support allowance. Staff members must apply for child support allowance with the University of Basel by completing the same form used for family allowance.

Monthly allowance for 2014:

  • CHF 412.65 for one child
  • CHF 504.75 for two children
  • CHF 540.15 for three children
  • CHF 568.25 for 4 and more children

For further information on family allowance, refer to the information sheet from the Basel-Stadt compensation fund: www.ak-bs.ch.

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