Expectant mothers in employment benefit from special protection under the Maternity Act (Mutterschutzgesetz) as soon as they have informed their employer about their pregnancy. It aims at protecting the health of the expectant mother as well as the health of the baby. It also protects against dismissal and being given notice.
Maternity leave begins eight weeks before the due date. This can begin even sooner if continuing to work imposes a serious health risk for the mother or the baby.
Maternity leave continues for another eight weeks after the delivery date and can be extended to twelve weeks in the case of a cesarean section or multiple births.
During those sixteen weeks (eight before the birth and eight after), pregnant employees are ‘protected’ (Schutzfrist) and are not legally allowed to work. An allowance (Wochengeld), amounting to 100% of the mother’s salary, is paid by her health insurer during this time.
Expectant mothers receiving unemployment benefits prior to the start of the protection period are entitled to receive 60% of the amount of the benefit for the duration of the maternity leave.
More details can be found on the official Austria government website.