Pregnancy, maternity, paternity, breastfeeding

A pregnant woman is not obliged to spontaneously announce a pregnancy. During a job interview, she may not tell the truth should the question arise. The Equality Law prohibits any kind of discrimination against a candidate or an employee because of her pregnancy.

Announcing a pregnancy on time is nevertheless preferred for health protection reasons, and in particular to plan a replacement during maternity leave.

Pregnant women may not carry out dangerous or arduous tasks, unless a risk assessment has determined that there is no threat to both the health of the mother and the child, or that adequate protection measures have been taken (art. 62 OLT 1). By extension, this also applies to students.

The analysis to be undertaken concerns:

  • the dangers to an expectant mother in her place of work;
  • how risks can be avoided;
  • tasks that are prohibited during pregnancy and breastfeeding

Are you pregnant?

Please quickly contact the Safety, Prevention and Health Office (DSPS) at EPFL, so that the necessary steps can be taken.

The Equality Law (LEg) prohibits any kind of discrimination – direct or indirect – of workers due to gender, based on their marital status or family situation or, in the case of women, their pregnancy.

The prohibition of discrimination applies in particular to hiring, assignment of tasks, planning of working conditions, remuneration, professional training and advanced training, promotion, and termination of working relationships.

Mothers benefit from a maternity leave of four months. All information on maternity leave at EPFL can be found on the Human Resources website.

A fully paid leave of absence of 20 working days is granted:

  1. to the legal father upon the birth of one or more of his children;
  2. in the case of a registered partnership, upon the birth of one or more children of the partner;
  3. to the adoptive father upon the adoption of one or more children in accordance with l’art. 37, al. 4.

Legal bases (in french)

In case of a child’s illness in his/her own household, if the presence of the parent is required: up to five days per calendar year.

In case of important school matters or medical examinations of children under 16 years of age, if the employee or collaborator assumes education: up to five days per calendar year.

More information on the Human Resources website.

An extension due to a maternity leave is granted for PhD students.

To extend the time limit for your PhD, you can talk to the person in charge of the doctoral program you are enrolled in.

Based on an agreement between the VPA and the Deans (2022), all faculty members (birth and non-birth parents) with a new-born child are entitled to one semester teaching relieve (50% over one year).

For PATT, PO and PA who gave birth, this teaching relieve comes in addition to the teaching relieve during maternity leave, amounting to a total of two semesters.

PATT who gave birth, are also granted a 1 year extension of deadlines (Stop the clock).

The organisation of the teaching is under the responsibility of section directors and deans. Faculty members are invited to contact their section director and dean in due time, to allow for a smooth organisation.

You will find information on family allowances on the Human Resources website.

Mothers must have the time needed for breastfeeding (art. 35a, para. 2, LTr). During the first year of the child’s life, the time taken for breastfeeding or expressing milk counts as paid working hours within the following limits (Article 60, para. 2, letters a to c, OLT 1):

  • for a working day of ≤ 4 h = 30 min.
  • for a working day of > 4 h = 60 min.
  • for a working day of > 7 h = 90 min.

The time necessary for breastfeeding is not regarded as a time of rest, and it cannot be deducted from either overtime or vacation time.

Need for rest and privacy

During pregnancy and breastfeeding, female employees and students may, on request, use the infirmaries for rest or privacy. Information