Special protection for pregnant women and women workers who recently gave birth or are breastfeeding to prevent harm to their or their infants’ health, and at the same time ensure that they will not lose their job simply because of pregnancy or maternity leave.


Additional notes and information

Such protection not only ensures a woman’s equal access to employment and prevents job discrimination; it is also a precondition for achieving genuine equality of opportunity and treatment of women and men at work, and enabling workers to raise families in conditions of security.

This form of protection does not always encompass non-biological parents, nor does it always take into account recent developments in medicine and society that have diversified the ways of becoming a parent.


Definition based on

(1) Council Directive 92/85/EEC of 19 October 1992 on the introduction of measures to encourage improvements in the safety and health at work of pregnant workers and workers who have recently given birth or are breastfeeding (Maternity Leave Directive);

(2) ILO maternity protection webpage.

(3) EIGE experts.