The Verdi union has accused the Berlin Senate of discriminating against pregnant women in the state’s public sector. According to the union, they are treated less favorably than sick employees when it comes to counting periods of employment that affect their pay.

Berlin is ignoring legal standards for the protection of expectant mothers, criticized the deputy head of the Verdi regional district Berlin-Brandenburg, Andrea Kühnemann, on Friday. The Senate finance administration around Senator Daniel Wesener (Greens) rejected this.

Employees in the public sector are remunerated according to salary groups, for which there are a number of different levels. The longer someone is employed, the higher they can climb in these tiers and the better paid they are. Holidays and phases of absence due to illness are also counted towards these periods of employment up to a certain upper limit.

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According to a circular from the tax authorities, this should no longer apply to pregnant women, said Kühnemann. If, for example, a doctor has ordered an affected person to be banned from working to protect the unborn child because of a high-risk pregnancy, this period should not be counted towards the qualifying periods. “With its regulation, the state of Berlin discriminates against pregnant women in a difficult phase of life in a particularly blatant way,” Kühnemann accused the Senate.

The financial administration disagreed. “The criticized regulation is neither an innovation nor a special Berlin approach,” said a spokesman. The circular of October 1 merely clarified the applicable collective bargaining law. “The change in this regulation, which is desirable – also from the point of view of the Berlin tax authorities – is the responsibility of the parties to the collective agreement,” the spokesman continued. “Unlike Verdi, the state of Berlin is not a negotiating partner here.”

However, the Senate is striving to bring about a decision in the interests of expectant mothers. “A corresponding application to the tariff community of the federal states is planned.”