Women who work are generally entitled to maternity benefits (Mutterschaftsleistungen) for six weeks before and eight weeks after giving birth. Maternity benefits in Germany include three types of cash payments you can get instead of your salary while you're on maternity leave. Which one you get depends on your work situation, your health insurance, and whether your maternity leave period (Mutterschutzfrist) has begun. In most cases, you will receive maternity pay (Mutterschaftsgeld) from your health insurance company and a maternity pay supplement from your employer. If you are not allowed to work before the start or after the end of the maternity leave period because of a restriction on employment (Beschäftigungsverbot), your workplace must pay you what is known as ‘maternity allowance’ (Mutterschaftslohn).

If you have statutory health insurance, you are entitled to maternity pay (Mutterschaftsgeld). The amount is based on your average net pay over the last three months before the start of your maternity leave. The maximum amount is €13 per day. If you have only marginal employment, for example if you work a ‘mini-job’ and will not receive a salary during the protection period, you will receive maternity pay of up to €13 per day from your health insurance fund. Your employer may pay you a maternity pay supplement. Even if you receive Unemployment Benefit I (Arbeitslosengeld I) at the beginning of the maternity protection period, you will still receive maternity pay from your statutory health insurance. If you are voluntarily insured with statutory health insurance as a self-employed person, it depends on whether you are entitled to sick pay (Krankengeld). If this is the case, you will receive maternity pay from your health insurance during the maternity leave period in the amount of sick pay.

If you have private health insurance, then during the maternity protection period you are entitled to maternity pay (Mutterschaftsgeld) from the Federal Social Security Office (Bundesamt für Soziale Sicherung). The same applies if you have statutory health insurance through a family member. The prerequisite in both cases is that you have an employment contract but are not allowed to work because of the maternity leave period. You can also get this type of maternity pay if your job has dismissed you during your pregnancy or after the birth with the approval of the proper supervisory authorities. In this case, maternity pay is paid in one sum. It shall not exceed a total of €210. If you have private health insurance and are self-employed, you will not receive maternity pay.

You receive maternity pay (Mutterschaftsgeld) for the entire maternity leave period (Mutterschutzfrist) and for the day of delivery. Most of the time, this is six weeks before and eight weeks after birth. In the case of premature birth or multiple births, maternity pay is paid for longer. You will also receive maternity pay if you received sick pay (Krankengeld) or Unemployment Benefit I (Arbeitslosengeld I) before the maternity leave period began. Even if you become ill during this period, you will continue to receive maternity pay.

If you take parental leave (Elternzeit) after the birth to look after your baby yourself, you can claim parental allowance (Elterngeld) immediately after the birth. A special rule applies to employed mothers. You are on maternity leave for the first two months after giving birth. If you receive maternity benefits (Mutterschaftsleistungen) during this time, they will be counted towards the parental allowance. These two months count as Basic Parental Allowance (Basiselterngeld). You can only switch to the Parental Allowance Plus (ElterngeldPlus) from the third month after birth. It is best to find out everything you need to know about parental allowance and parental leave before the baby is born. Otherwise, you run the risk of giving away money needlessly. You should contact is your local parental allowance office (Elterngeldstelle).

If you have statutory health insurance, you can apply for maternity pay (Mutterschaftsgeld) through your health insurance company. Use the form they provide. You’ll need a medical certificate stating your due date for the application. The earliest you can get it is seven weeks before your due date. It's best to apply as soon as you have the certificate. If you apply after the birth, you must submit the initial birth certificate instead. If you have private health insurance or are insured in the statutory health insurance through a family member, you should apply for maternity pay at the Federal Social Security Office (Bundesamt für soziale Sicherung).

If your average net wages were higher than €13 per day in the last three calendar months before the start of your maternity leave period (Mutterschutzfrist), your company will make up the difference in maternity pay (Mutterschaftsgeld) by making an additional payment. This additional payment is the employer's maternity pay supplement. This is what your workplace is obligated to do. Your health insurance company will later reimburse your company for this pay. This also applies if you have private health insurance.

If a restriction on employment (Beschäftigungsverbot) prevents you from working before the start or after the end of your maternity leave period (Mutterschutzfrist), your workplace must pay you a maternity allowance (Mutterschutzlohn). It's as high as your average gross pay before the beginning of your pregnancy. You must pay taxes and make social security contributions on the maternity protection allowance just as you do on your normal income. Statutory health insurance will reimburse your employer for the maternity protection allowance.