Protecting pregnant workers and new mothers
Directive 92/85/EEC on the introduction of measures to encourage improvements in the safety and health of workers who are pregnant, have recently given birth or are breastfeeding
WHAT IS THE AIM OF THE DIRECTIVE?
It aims to protect the health and safety of women in the workplace when pregnant* or after they have recently given birth*, and women who are breastfeeding*.
EU Member States must inform employers and female workers of the European Commission's guidelines regarding risks to health and safety at work posed by hazardous substances and industrial processes.
Where risks are identified, employers mustact to protect female workers concerned, for instance, by moving them to another position or granting leave.
Where leave is granted, the employer must guarantee employment rights and payment of an adequate allowance to compensate for any loss of income.
Pregnant workers are not obliged to work night shifts, subject to submitting a medical certificate.
Pregnant workers may undergo antenatal medical examinations during working hours without loss of pay.
The directive provides for 14 weeks’ maternity leave of which 2 weeks must occur before the birth.
Women must not be dismissed from work because of their pregnancy and maternity.
Amending Regulation (EU) 2019/1243 gives the Commission the power to adopt delegated acts to make strictly technical amendments to Annex I, in order to take account of technical progress, changes in international regulations or specifications and new findings.
Annex I contains a non-exhaustive list of physical, biological and chemical agents and working conditions referred to in Article 4 of the directive (assessment and information).
Annex II contains a non-exhaustive list of agents and working conditions referred to in Article 6 of the directive (cases in which exposure is prohibited).
FROM WHEN DOES THE DIRECTIVE APPLY?
It has applied since 24 November 1992 and had to become law in the Member States by 24 November 1994.
Article 153 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union gives the EU the authority to adopt legislation in the field of safety and health at work, in order to support and complement the activities of Member States.
Directive 92/85/EEC is one of several ‘daughter directives’ adopted under the Framework Directive 89/391/EEC on the safety and health of workers at work (see summary).
Principle 10 of the European Pillar of Social Rights states that workers have the right to a high level of protection of their health and safety at work.
For more information, see:
Pregnant worker: a pregnant woman who informs her employer of her condition, in accordance with national legislation and/or national practice.
Worker who has recently given birth: a woman who has recently given birth as defined in national legislation and/or national practice and who informs her employer of her condition, in accordance with that legislation and/or practice.
Worker who is breastfeeding: a woman who is breastfeeding as defined in national legislation and/or national practice and who informs her employer of her condition, in accordance with that legislation and/or practice.
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 (tenth individual Directive within the meaning of Article 16(1) of Directive 89/391/EEC) (OJ L 348, 28.11.1992, pp. 1-7)
Successive amendments to Directive 92/85/EEC have been incorporated into the original text. This consolidated version is of documentary value only.
Consolidated version of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union — Part Three — Union policies and internal actions — Title X — Social policy — Article 153 (ex Article 137 TEC) (OJ C 202, 7.6.2016, pp. 114-116)
Council Directive 89/391/EEC of 12 June 1989 on the introduction of measures to encourage improvements in the safety and health of workers at work (OJ L 183, 29.6.1989, pp. 1-8)
See consolidated version.
last update 02.08.2021