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SWITZERLAND Maternity protection, salary maintenance and protection from dismissal, for pregnant women and mothers in Switzerland.

updated February 5, 2022

Working and Breastfeeding

  • At the federal level, maternity leave lasts 14 weeks or 98 days to be taken at one time from the day of the baby’s birth; at the Canton of Geneva level, the duration of maternity leave has been extended to 16 weeks.
  • Breastfeeding women can benefit from breastfeeding breaks at the workplace. Legislation has long been unclear on the issue of breastfeeding breaks. See the document of the Canton of Geneva in partnership with GIFA « Allaitement au travail » in French (Breastfeeding at the workplace.
  • For practical tips about breastfeeding in Geneva have a look here

Brochures by SECO

  1. The english brochure « Maternity – Protection of Women Workers » of the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) explains the legal provisions, in particular the protection of health, the maintenance of salary and the protection against dismissal, for pregnant women and mothers in Switzerland.

2) La protection de la maternité en Entreprise (Guidelines for employers, in French)

Since 2014, breastfeeding breaks are paid

In 2014, the remuneration for breastfeeding breaks was finally specified in the revision of Ordinance 1 on the Labour Act (OLT 1) (not available in English) which came into force on 1 June 2014 (Art. 60, para. 2):

Nursing mothers may have time to breastfeed or express their milk. During the child’s first year of life, time taken to breastfeed or express milk is counted as paid working time within the following limits:

  • For a working day up to 4 hours: minimum 30 minutes
  • For a working day of more than 4 hours: minimum 60 minutes
  • For a working day of more than 7 hours: minimum 90 minutes

Practical information


In 2012, Switzerland decided to ratify the International Labour Office’s Maternity Protection Convention (ILO C183) IBFAN-GIFA has jointly designed the Maternity Protection Resource Package with the International Labour Office and other UN organizations, and therefore actively supports Switzerland’s initiative to ratify the ILO Convention (open letter from GIFA to Liliane Maury Pasquier) (in French). In order to be able to sign the Convention, Switzerland had to legislate on the remuneration of breastfeeding breaks at work. A draft law, supported by GIFA, was submitted for consultation by SECO for this purpose (press release of February 2014) (in French) and adopted in 2014.