This article will share everything you need to know about receiving a family allowance in France. It will also cover details about parental and maternal leave and their allowances.

If you have worked and paid the social security contributions and costs in another European Union country, your period of work and contributions may be taken into account when calculating your benefits in France.

What Is Parental Allowance? 

Parental Allowance is a benefit for parents with babies or toddlers. It aims to enable parents to take time to bring up and look after their children. 

Parental Allowance redresses the balance when parents earn less due to working reduced hours or stopping work altogether after their child is born. In this way, Parental Allowance helps families secure their financial livelihood. Parental Allowance is also available to parents who had no income at all before the child was born.

In What Situation Can I Claim?

If you and your family reside in France stably and regularly and have actual and permanent responsibility for at least one child. In that case, you will be eligible for family allowances. Some allowances are paid based on your income level.

Actual family allowances start with the second dependent child.

What Conditions Do I Need To Meet?

The right to family allowances is available to anyone financially responsible for the upkeep of their legitimate, natural, adopted, or even hosted children once they come under their care.

A dependent child’s age is limited to:

  • 20 years for all children who don’t work or whose monthly remuneration does not exceed €982.48 (€881.71 for a disabled child’s additional Allowance);
  • 21 years for housing benefits and a family income supplement; 
  • Twenty years for a lump sum monthly allowance.

General Maintenance Allowances

  • Family allowances (Allocations familiales) begin with the second dependent child. The amount is adjusted based on the number of children and household income.
  • The lump sum monthly allowance is given to families with at least three dependent children who lose the benefit of some family allowances because one or more of their children has reached the age of 20.
  • The family income supplement is given to families with at least three dependent children aged three to twenty-one, depending on their income.
  • Family income support (Allocation de soutien familial) is given regardless of income to any child who is fatherless or motherless or to an orphan.

Early Childhood Benefit (Known As Prestation d’accueil du jeune enfant, Paje)

So, the premium on adoption or at birth is paid, depending on income, at the time of a child’s birth, or when a child under the age of 20 is adopted.

  • The basic Allowance is paid after the premium is paid at birth or adoption. It is paid based on income from the month of their birth until the last day of the calendar month preceding their third birthday (or three years from the month after the adoption, up to a maximum child of 20 years old).
  • The Prestation partagée d’éducation de L’Enfant, referred to as PreParE, allows one or both parents to stop or reduce their activity to care for their children under the age of three (under 20 years old in case of adoption).
  • The supplement for free choice of activity (Complément de libre Choix du mode de Garde) is paid to the household or person who directly employs someone to care for a child under the age of six or places the child in a micro-crèche.

Special Allowances

  • The disabled child education allowance (Allocation d’éducation de L’Enfant handicapé) is paid regardless of income to any child under the age of 20 who has a disability and is enrolled in a special school or receives specialized home care.
  • The back-to-school Allowance (Allocation de rentrée scolaire) is paid, based on income, to any child aged 6 to 18 who is enrolled in school.
  • The daily parental presence allowance (Allocation journalière de présence parentale) is paid to anyone responsible for a child under 20 years of age with a serious illness or disability that necessitates ongoing support and special care.
  • The family housing allowance (Allocation de Logement familiale) is a family allowance designed to help families with some of their housing costs (means-tested).
  • The moving premium (Prime de déménagement) is paid to families with at least three dependent children who are eligible for housing benefits in their new home.
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What Am I Entitled To, And How Do I Make A Claim?

Method of calculating family allowances: family allowances are calculated as a percentage of a monthly calculation basis of €414.81. (April 2021). Every year on April 1, this total is reassessed.

The amounts listed below are valid from April 1, 2021, to March 31, 2022 (before CRDS (contribution to the repayment of social security debt) of 0.5%).

General Maintenance Allowances

The number of family allowances is adjusted based on the number of children (starting at 2) and household income:

  • The maximum amount for two children: is €132.74
  • maximum value for three children: €302.81
  • maximum value for 4 children: €472.88
  • The Increase from 14 years old (does not apply to the eldest of 2 children): €66.37

If the annual income in N-2 exceeds the amount in one of the three income brackets, divide it by 2 or 4.

  • The lump sum allowance has a monthly maximum of €83.93.
  • The basic monthly amount of the family income supplement is set at €172.77. This amount can be increased based on the family’s income (€259.17).
  • The monthly amount of the family income support allowance is €155.55 (orphan) or €116.69 (non-orphan) (fatherless or motherless).

Early Childhood Benefit (Paje)

  • The birth or adoption premium is €953.03 (birth) or €1,906.05 (adoption) (adoption). This is a fixed sum paid in one lump sum.
  • The basic Allowance is €172.77 or €86.38 per month (depending on income).
  • In the event of a complete cessation of activity, the monthly shared Allowance for children’s education (PreParE) is €400.79. It is €259.09 per month if the recipient works less than 50% of the time and €149.46 if they work between 50% and 80% of the time.
  • The amount of free choice of childcare supplement varies depending on the child’s age, type of childcare, and income.

Special Allowances

  • The basic monthly amount of the disabled child’s education allowance is €132.74. This amount may be increased for a single parent or based on the child’s disability or need for assistance. More information is available on the State Secretariat for Persons with Disabilities website.
  • The back-to-school Allowance ranges from €372.17 to €406.31 depending on the child’s age (school year beginning 2021).
  • If the recipient lives with a partner, the daily parental presence allowance is set at €44.09. If it is a single parent, the fee is increased to €52.39. When the child’s medical condition necessitates significant monthly expenses, a €112.99 supplement may be granted (means-tested).
  • The amount of family housing benefit is determined by income, household composition, geographic location of the house, and rent amount. The CAF’s (Family allowance office’s) calculation method can be used to simulate the amount of the Allowance.
  • The moving Allowance paid only once is equal to the actual moving expenses, up to a maximum of €995.54 for three dependent children (€82.96 for each additional child).
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Jargon Busters

  • BMAF: Base month for calculating family allowances. A statutory amount is used to calculate family allowances.
  • CAF: Family allowance office. A government agency that pays family allowances to all beneficiaries except farmers (whose allowances are paid by the agricultural social security insurance company).
  • Smic: French Minimum Interprofessional Guaranteed Wage. As of January 1, 2022, the gross monthly Smic is €1,603.12.

Forms You May Need To Fill In

Forms can be downloaded from the Family Allowance Office’s website.

Know Your Rights

The links below provide additional information about your rights. These websites are not under the control of the European Commission and thus do not represent its views:

Commission publication and websites:

Who Do You Need To Contact?

Beneficiaries of the general regime: please contact the CAF.

Farmers should contact the MSA

Parental Allowance For Parenting Couples, Single Parents, And Separated Parents 

You can claim Parental Allowance 

• as a parenting couple, 

• as a single parent or, 

• as separated parents. 

Single Parents 

You are considered a single parent if you meet these two conditions: 

  • The other parent does not live with you or the child and 
  • You are considered a single parent under tax law; that is to say, you are entitled to single-parent relief. Normally this is only possible if you do not cohabit or live with another adult. If you have questions about single-parent relief, please contact your local tax authorities or your tax advisor.

There are also two other cases in which you can claim Parental Allowance as a single parent: 

  • If the other parent can’t care for the child because they are ill or disabled, for example. In such cases, please provide evidence of medical reasons, such as a medical certificate. It is not sufficient for the other parent to be unable to look after the child due to work, for example. 
  • If being cared for by the other parent constitutes a risk to the child’s well-being. This applies in exceptional cases, for example, if the Youth Welfare Office thinks the child’s physical or mental well-being would be threatened if the other parent were to look after the child. 

In each of these cases, you can claim Parental Allowance benefits that are otherwise only possible where both parents receive Parental Allowance. 

Separated Parents 

You are separated parents if you live apart from each other as parents and share child-rearing obligations. The key factor here is that both parents share a household with the child. For this to apply, the child must live with each parent for at least one-third of the time. If the child lives with one parent for less than a third of the time, that parent is not entitled to parental benefits. The other parent then receives Parental Allowance as a single parent.

Working Or Studying While Receiving Parental Allowance 

You may only work part-time while receiving Parental Allowance, that is, no more than 32 hours per week. If you work more, you are not entitled to Parental Allowance. 

Annual leave days and sick days do not reduce your weekly working hours. Your working hours are calculated as if you had worked on these days. 

You do not need to stop studying or training to receive Parental Allowance. It does not matter how many hours you spend on these activities a week. Unlike the restriction on working hours, you may pursue studying or training for more than 32 hours a week. 

Important! 

If your child was born before September 1, 2021, different rules sometimes apply to you. Please contact your Parental Allowance Office for details. 

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Serious Illness Or Disability Of A Parent 

If one parent cannot look after the child because of illness or a severe disability, the other parent may receive Parental Allowance as if they were a single parent. This means they can also receive Parental Allowance benefits to which they would otherwise only be entitled if both parents received Parental Allowance. 

Nuts And Bolts Of Parental And Maternal Leave Allowance In France

Regardless of your internal policies, if you hire employees from France, you should know their legal rights when they become parents.

You can’t just assume that the laws governing parental leave in France are the same as those in your home country, even if your company is based in another European country.

For example, 11 of the 28 European Union (EU) countries—still 28 at the survey—do not provide parental leave to partners in same-sex marriages. France, on the other hand, does. Small differences like this are why it’s always a good idea to brush up on paternity and maternity leave in France.

Continue reading ahead to learn everything you must know about parental leave in France and the benefits it provides for your eligible employees.

The Basics Of Parental Leave In France 

Most European countries have different policies regarding parental leave. The EU, on the other hand, expects all members to follow the minimum standards set out in Directive (EU) 2019/1158 (the right to paid maternal leave and parental leave) and Directive 92/85/EEC (for pregnant workers). 

France is no exception.

And it has long been a supporter of maternity leave regulations. In 1946, France passed legislation granting women a 14-week maternity leave and including compensation for half of their lost earnings.

Currently, expectant mothers have 16 weeks off—six weeks before and ten weeks after birth. Fathers are entitled to up to 25 days of paternity leave, with four days taken immediately after childbirth and the remaining 21 days taken within six months of delivery.

Adoptive parents are not excluded. When adopting a single child, parents can request ten weeks of parental leave or up to 22 weeks if adopting multiple children. The parents are expected to split the daily leave allowance in this scenario.

To be deemed eligible for parental leave in France, parents must:

  • Be enrolled in the Social Security Administration (SSA) at least ten months before the date of childbirth and have taken at least eight weeks of leave.
  • They must have worked at least 150 hours in the 90 days preceding the start of their leave.

Maternity Leave In France

In France, as in the rest of the EU, every expectant mother is entitled to paid maternity leave. The length of maternity leave, however, will be determined by the number of children the mother is expecting and the number of other children she already has.

Before we get into the details, keep in mind that the employee must notify their employer of their pregnancy and the anticipated end date of their maternity leave via registered letter or verbally. It is always preferable if the notice is written so the employer can issue a receipt acknowledging the employee’s notice.

This can be used as a legal document if there is any misunderstanding.

How Long Is Maternity Leave In France?

Let’s get into the specifics of the various scenarios and the total number of maternity leave days the mother should be given.

Women expecting one child with fewer than two dependent children are entitled to a six-week prenatal leave and a ten-week postnatal leave under French law (postnatal). If the mother has a serious prenatal condition (such as preeclampsia or gestational diabetes), she is entitled to an extra two weeks of prenatal leave.

In addition, if childbirth causes health complications, the employee is entitled to four weeks of additional postnatal leave. That’s a total of 14 weeks of maternity leave.

If the mother is pregnant with her third child, she is entitled to eight weeks of prenatal leave followed by 18 weeks of postnatal leave. These figures remain constant for subsequent births.

Those expecting twins receive 12 weeks of prenatal care and 22 weeks of postnatal care. The prenatal period is extended to 24 weeks if there are triplets or more. Postnatally, nothing changes.

The law also covers cases of premature childbirth that occur more than six weeks before the expected delivery date and requires the newborn to be hospitalized. The time between the delivery date and the start date of the six-week prenatal leave is included in the postnatal leave.

On the other hand, postnatal leave begins on the actual delivery date if the baby is delivered late.

Parents with at least two dependents before adoption are eligible for an additional eight weeks’ leave. This is in addition to the initial ten weeks. If the parents share parental leave, the government extends the duration by 11 days (for a single adoption) and 18 days (for multiple adoptions) (for multiple adoptions).

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What Is The Allowance For Maternity Leave?

During maternity leave, the employee’s employment contract is considered suspended by the law. The French SSA will handle all future payments if the employee meets the eligibility criteria.

The employer is not required by law to pay the mother.

The leave allowance is calculated by adding the employee’s gross wages for the three months preceding the maternity leave and dividing the total by 91.5. After the government deducts 21% of earnings for taxes and social contributions, employees receive their accrued daily benefits every 14 days.

Daily wages cannot exceed €89.03 or fall below €9.66. The monthly maximum payment is €3,428.

Employees return to their previous job or a similar role at the end of their maternity leave with no pay changes. If other employees received a raise while the parent was away, it must be extended to the mother as she returns to work.

Furthermore, French law requires an additional four weeks of employment protection following the end of maternity or adoption leave.

Paternity Leave In France

French President Emmanuel Macron announced an extension of paternity leave in September 2020.

Fathers or second parents of biological or adopted children would be able to take a 25-day parental leave, which would include a four-day mandatory leave taken immediately after childbirth and a 21-day leave that the father could take at any time within six months of the baby’s birth.

In the case of multiple births (twins or triplets), the 21-day paternity leave is extended to 28 days.

Paternity leave was previously limited to 11 consecutive days for a single child or 18 days for multiple children. The new legislation went into effect on July 1, 2021. In same-sex couples, the policy also applies to the second parent (male or female).

Here are the key provisions of the new paternity leave legislation.

How Long Is Paternity Leave In France?

Immediately following childbirth, the father is required to take a three-day birth leave paid for by their employer (only working days). The new policy’s four-day mandatory paternity leave begins at the end of the third day.

The father may then take two installments for the 21-day (or 28-day) leave period. Each leave installment must be at least five days long.

For example, if there are multiple births, the father can divide the remaining 21 days into two periods of five and 16 days or five and 23 days. In cases where the doctor admits the newborn to the hospital, the father’s four-day leave period extends for the duration of the hospitalization, up to a maximum of 30 consecutive calendar days.

The father is exempt from the 21-day post-partum leave. If they decide to take it, however, the father must notify the employer one month before the start date of the leave period. As with maternity leave, written notice is always preferable.

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In Short, What Is The Allowance For Paternity Leave?

The French government expects employers to pay employees for the first three days while covering the remaining leave allowance.

Allowances are calculated similarly to maternity leave allowances (the sum of the last three gross salaries before childbirth divided by 91.25). The SSA has set a quarterly limit of €10,284 for the leave allowance.

Before the SSA pays out the paternity leave allowance to the father, tax and social contributions (capped at a flat rate of 21%, as with maternity leave) are deducted.

Where To Go If I Have More Questions About Parental Leave In France When Hiring Employees?

The French public service website is an obvious place to start.

This is most likely the complete resource on French parental leave. It can, however, be a little overwhelming. The official website of the European Union also has a wealth of information on maternity and paternity leave in France.

Global HR compliance experts such as Oyster are another excellent option for people leaders in distributed teams.

If you take this route, you will be guaranteed a team of legal and HR experts who will do all of the legwork to understand the law while you focus on what is important—providing a great employee experience for your new hires.

Parental Leave In France Isn’t Complicated If You Have The Correct Information

The right information can mean the difference between a compliant global workforce and legal problems. It’s also the right thing to do.

You can demonstrate to your top talent that you have their best interests at heart by ensuring they can fully participate in their home country’s parental leave regulations. By enlisting the help of experts who are familiar with the terrain, you should be able to hire top talent from France without breaking a sweat.

Parental Leave Allowance In France ‘Should Link To Wages’

Parents currently receive a fixed monthly payment of €398.79, but according to a report presented to the government this autumn, it should instead reflect the parent’s salary, with a fixed ceiling.

Since parental leave was last reformed in France in 2014, the number of families using it has nearly halved, from 510,000 in 2012 to 265,000 in 2019. Increasing parental leave payouts in proportion to household income is one of several proposed reforms.

The duration would be reduced to cover the first year of the baby’s life rather than the current three years, with a maximum of six months for each parent unless the family is one-parent.

Since parental leave was last reformed in 2014, the number of families using it has nearly halved, from 510,000 in 2012 to 265,000 in 2019.

Improvement Needed

The report requested by Works Minister Elisabeth Borne and Social Services Minister Adrien Taquet also suggests that childcare provision for children aged one to three years old be improved.

59% of children had access to childcare outside the family circle in 2018.

According to the report, other solutions must be found for nearly four out of every ten children, who mostly stay at home with mothers who may be eligible for parental leave.

According to the report, many parents must juggle multiple solutions, and 25% of parents do not have access to the childcare they desire.

Other ideas include a childcare insurance system at work to supplement the state parental leave benefit. For families, such as for a death or sick child, time-off rights should be streamlined and consolidated.

Final Words

This detailed guide is enough to help you with knowing everything about Parental Allowance in France. Good luck!