Advertisement

Protection of Pregnant Women at Work in Switzerland: Implementation and Experiences of Maternity Protection Legislation

  • Alessia Zellweger
  • Peggy Krief
  • Maria-Pia Politis Mercier
  • Brigitta Danuser
  • Pascal Wild
  • Michela Zenoni
  • Isabelle Probst
Conference paper
Part of the Advances in Intelligent Systems and Computing book series (AISC, volume 819)

Abstract

Objectives. Like most industrialized countries, Switzerland has introduced legislation to protect the health of pregnant workers and their unborn children from workplace hazards. This study aims to assess legislation’s degree of implementation in the French-speaking part of Switzerland and understand the barriers to and resources supporting its implementation.

Methods. Data were collected using mixed methods: (1) an online questionnaire send to 333 gynecologist-obstetricians (GOs) and 637 midwives; (2) exploratory semi-structured interviews with 5 workers who had had a pregnancy in the last 5 years.

Results. Questionnaire response rates were 32% for GOs and 54% for midwives. Data showed that several aspects of the implementation of maternity protection policies could be improved. Where patients encounter workplace hazards, GOs and midwives estimated that they only received a risk assessment from the employer in about 5% and 2% of cases, respectively. Preventive leave is underprescribed: 32% of GOs reported that they “often” or “always” prescribed preventive leave in cases involving occupational hazards; 58% of GOs reported that they “often” or “always” prescribed sick leave instead.

Interviews with workers identified several barriers to the implementation of protective policies in workplaces: a lack of information about protective measures and pregnancy rights; organizational problems triggered by job and schedule adjustments; and discrepancies between some safety measures and their personal needs.

Conclusions. Results demonstrate the need to improve the implementation and appropriateness of maternity protection legislation in Switzerland. More research is required to identify the factors affecting its implementation.

Keywords

Pregnancy Occupational exposure Maternity protection legislation 

Notes

Acknowledgments

This work is supported by the Swiss National Science Foundation (grant number 162713), by Canton Vaud’s Public Health Service and by a research fund belonging to the University of Applied Sciences and Arts Western Switzerland (HES-SO).

References

  1. 1.
    Casas M et al (2015) Maternal occupation during pregnancy, birth weight, and length of gestation: combined analysis of 13 European birth cohorts. Scand J Work Environ Health 41:384–396.  https://doi.org/10.5271/sjweh.3500CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Fowler JR, Culpepper L (2018) Working during pregnancy. UpToDateGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Figà-Talamanca I (2006) Occupational risk factors and reproductive health of women. Occup Med 56:521–531.  https://doi.org/10.1093/occmed/kql114CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Lafon D (2010) Grossesse et travail: quels sont les risques pour l’enfant à naître? EDP Sciences edn. Institut National de recherche et de Sécurité (INRS), Les UlisGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Goldman RH, Wylie JB (2017) Overview of occupational and environmental risks to reproduction in females. UpToDateGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Palmer KT, Bonzini M, Bonde J-PE (2013) Pregnancy: occupational aspects of management: concise guidance. Clin Med 13:75–79.  https://doi.org/10.7861/clinmedicine.13-1-75CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Larsen AD (2015) The effect of maternal exposure to psychosocial job strain on pregnancy outcomes and child development. Dan Med J 62:B5015Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Glover V (2014) Maternal depression, anxiety and stress during pregnancy and child outcome; what needs to be done. Best Pract Res Clin Obstet Gynaecol 28:25–35.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.bpobgyn.2013.08.017CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    International Labour Organization (2010) Maternity at work: a review of national legislation: findings from the ILO database of conditions of work and employment laws, GenevaGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Probst I, Zellweger A, Politis Mercier M-P, Danuser B, Krief P (Under review) Implementation, mechanisms, and effects of maternity protection legislation: a realist narrative review of the literatureGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Lembrechts L, Valgaeren E (2010) Grossesse au travail. Le vécu et les obstacles rencontrés par les travailleuses en Belgique. Etude quantitative et qualitative. Institut pour l’égalité des femmes et des hommes, BruxellesGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Lippel K (1998) Preventive reassignment of pregnant or breast-feeding workers: the Quebec model. New Solut J Environ Occup Health Policy 8:267–280CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Malenfant R, Gravel A-R, Laplante N, Plante R (2011) Grossesse et travail: au-delà des facteurs de risques pour la santé. Revue Multidisciplinaire sur L’emploi, le Syndicalisme et le Travail 6:50–72CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Adams L et al (2016) Pregnancy and maternity-related discrimination and disadvantage: experiences of employers. Department for Business, Innovation and Skills and the Equality and Human Rights Commission, LondonGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Adams L et al (2016) Pregnancy and maternity-related discrimination and disadvantage: experiences of mothers. Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, Equality and Human Rights Commission, LondonGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    Grolimund-Berset D, Krief P, Praz-Christinaz S (2011) Difficultés pratiques de la mise en application de l’Ordonnance sur la protection maternité (Oproma) en Suisse à la lumière de deux cas cliniques. Archives des Maladies Professionnelles et de L’environnement 73:524–525CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    Aellen G, Nicollier L, Outdili Z, Ribeiro K, Stritt K (2013) Application de l’Ordonnance sur la protection de la maternité chez les femmes médecins. Revue médicale suisse, pp 1433–1434Google Scholar
  18. 18.
    Makowiec-Dabrowska T, Hanke W, Radwan-Wlodarczyk Z, Koszada-Wlodarczyk W, Sobala W (2003) Working condition of pregnant women. Departures from regulation on occupations especially noxious or hazardous to women. Med Pr 54:33–43Google Scholar
  19. 19.
    Fanello C, Ripault B, Drüker S, Moisan S, Parot E, Fontbonne D (2005) Déroulement des grossesses du personnel d’un établissement hospitalier. Evolution en vingt ans. Archives des Maladies Professionnelles et de l’Environnement 66:244–251.  https://doi.org/10.1016/S1775-8785(05)79089-5CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. 20.
    Malenfant R, De Koninck M (2002) Production and reproduction: the issues involved in reconciling work and pregnancy. New Solut J Environ Occup Health Policy 12:61–77CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. 21.
    Legrand E (2015) Santé reproductive et travail: la prévention des risques reprotoxiques. Rapport final dans le cadre du Programme national de recherche Environnement-Santé Travail. Université du Havre, Le HavreGoogle Scholar
  22. 22.
    Aviles-Palacios C, Lopez-Quero M, Garcia-Lopez M-J (2013) Gender and maternity considerations and techniques in occupational health services: the Spanish case. Saf Sci :27–31  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ssci.2013.03.011
  23. 23.
    Tarchi M, Bartoli D, Demi A, Dini F, Farina GA, Sannino G (2007) Emerging problems in enforcement of safe maternity and feeding protection at work: a public prevention service experience. Giornale Italiano di Medicina del Lavoro ed Ergonomia 29:385–386Google Scholar
  24. 24.
    Messing K, Boutin S (1997) Les conditions difficiles dans les emplois des femmes et les instances gouvernementales en santé et en sécurité du travail. Ind Relat 52:333–363.  https://doi.org/10.7202/051169arCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. 25.
    Krief P, Zellweger A, Politis Mercier M-P, Danuser B, Wild P, Zenoni M, Probst I (2018) Protection of pregnant women at work in Switzerland: practices, obstacles and resources. A mixed-methods study protocol. BMJ OpenGoogle Scholar
  26. 26.
    Pawson R, Greenhalgh T, Harvey G, Walshe K (2005) Realist review–a new method of systematic review designed for complex policy interventions. J Health Serv Res Policy 10(Suppl 1):21–34.  https://doi.org/10.1258/1355819054308530CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. 27.
    Larsson C, Sydsjo A, Alexanderson K, Sydsjo G (2006) Obstetricians’ attitudes and opinions on sickness absence and benefits during pregnancy. Acta Obstet Gynecol Scand 85:165–170CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. 28.
    Stotland NE et al (2014) Counseling patients on preventing prenatal environmental exposures–a mixed-methods study of obstetricians. PLoS ONE 9:e98771.  https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0098771CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. 29.
    Sydsjo G, Sydsjo A (2002) Newly delivered women’s evaluation of personal health status and attitudes towards sickness absence and social benefits. Acta Obstet Gynecol Scand 81:104–111.  https://doi.org/10.1034/j.1600-0412.2002.810203.xCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. 30.
    Hansen M, Thulstrup A, Juhl M, Kristensen J, Ramlau-Hansen C (2015) Occupational exposures and sick leave during pregnancy: results from a Danish cohort study. Scandin 41Google Scholar
  31. 31.
    Henrotin JB, Vaissiere M, Etaix M, Dziurla M, Malard S, Lafon D (2017) Exposure to occupational hazards for pregnancy and sick leave in pregnant workers: a cross-sectional study. Ann Occup Environ Me 29  https://doi.org/10.1186/s40557-017-0170-3
  32. 32.
    Kaerlev L, Jacobsen LB, Olsen J, Bonde JP (2004) Long-term sick leave and its risk factors during pregnancy among Danish hospital employees. Scand J Public Health 32:111–117.  https://doi.org/10.1080/14034940310017517CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. 33.
    Gravel AR, Riel J, Messing K (2017) Protecting pregnant workers while fighting sexism: work-pregnancy balance and pregnant nurses’ resistance in Quebec hospitals. New Solut J Environ Occup Health Policy 27:424–437.  https://doi.org/10.1177/1048291117724847CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. 34.
    Bretin H, De Koninck M, Saurel-Cubizolles M-J (2004) Conciliation travail/famille: quel prix pour l’emploi et le travail des femmes? À propos de la protection de la grossesse et de la maternité en France et au Québec. Santé, Société et Solidarité 3:149–160.  https://doi.org/10.3406/oss.2004.1006CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. 35.
    Durand MJ, Vezina N, Baril R, Loisel P, Richard MC, Ngomo S (2009) Margin of manoeuvre indicators in the workplace during the rehabilitation process: a qualitative analysis. J Occup Rehabil 19:194–202.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s10926-009-9173-4CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. 36.
    Durand MJ, Vezina N, Baril R, Loisel P, Richard MC, Ngomo S (2011) Relationship between the margin of manoeuvre and the return to work after a long-term absence due to a musculoskeletal disorder: an exploratory study. Disabil Rehabil 33:1245–1252.  https://doi.org/10.3109/09638288.2010.526164CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. 37.
    Romano D, Moreno N (2010) Barriers for the prevention of chemical exposures in pregnant and breast-feeding workers? J Epidemiol Community Health 64:193.  https://doi.org/10.1136/jech.2008.085282CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Health Sciences (HESAV)University of Applied Sciences and Arts Western Switzerland (HES-SO)LausanneSwitzerland
  2. 2.Institute for Work and Health (IST)Universities of Lausanne and GenevaEpalingesSwitzerland
  3. 3.INRS Scientific ManagementNancyFrance

Personalised recommendations