Fathers in France are entitled to one month of paternity leave. Continue reading to learn more about parental leave for new fathers, mothers and secondary carers following the birth of their child. Fathers in France have the right to approximately one month of paternity leave. More details about mother’s parental are leave below in the article.

What Is Paternity Leave?

Employed fathers are eligible for paternity leave, regardless of whether they live with the child’s different parent or act as a co-parent. Employed spouses, including civil partners, common-law partners, or those in a conjugal relationship with the mother or primary parent, are also eligible, even if they are not biologically related to the child. Same-sex couples have equal access to paternity leave. Currently, less than 70% of fathers take advantage of their paternity leave.

Paternity leave has been available in France since 2002 as an addition to the existing three-day childbirth leave. Paternity leave used to last 11 calendar days, including weekends and public holidays. On the other hand, maternity leave has been in effect since 1909.

The right to paternity leave is equal for all employed fathers or second parents. This is regardless of their years of service or the type of contract they have (permanent or temporary, interim, etc.).

However, in order to be eligible for paternity leave, you must have been registered at the French social security system for a minimum of 10 months and be able to demonstrate that you worked a minimum of 150 hours in the three months preceding your leave. In the case of intermittent work, you must demonstrate that you worked at least 600 hours in the year preceding the start of your paternity leave.

How Long Is Paternity Leave?

We have a great piece of news to share with you. France finalized a decision to extend paternity leave on July 1, 2021. New fathers now receive 25 calendar days, or 28 total days, including your three-day childbirth leave. In addition, if you have twins, your paternity leave is extended to 32 days.

However, it is important to note that there are a few rules you must follow in order to obtain this time off work:

  • You must take four calendar days of leave immediately following your three days of childbirth leave. Your childbirth leave will begin the day after your child is born.
  • The remaining 21 days (or the remaining 28 days in the scenario of multiple children) can be divided into two parts of at least five days each, to be taken within six months of the birth of your child or children. You may be able to extend this period in some circumstances, such as if the child requires hospitalization.

It’s worth noting that the second 21-day or 28-day leave is entirely optional. It is up to the parent to make the decision about taking the leave and, if so, how many days.

Who Is Eligible For French Parental Leave?

Parental leave is granted to parents, usually following maternity and paternity leave, to allow mothers and fathers to care for their young children while continuing to work. Such a policy exists in all EU Member States, and it is known as Congé parental in France. The policy design and eligibility rules differ across the EU, and not all EU women and men are eligible for parental leave.

Who Pays For Paternity Leave?

Your employer does not pay for paternity leave; rather, it is covered by the French social security system. This means that your employment contract will be suspended during your leave.

Daily allowances replace your entire salary up to a daily limit of €89.03 as of January 1, 2021. The limit is €56.35 per day for self-employed workers and €55.52 per day for spousal business partners.

Your daily allowance is based on your earnings in the three months preceding the child’s birth or the last 12 months if you worked intermittently.

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Receiving Pay For Paternity Leave

Your designated health insurance will transfer your daily allowance every 14 days when it comes to receiving your paternity leave pay. It’s also worth noting that this payment is subject to income tax.

Requesting Paternity Leave—How It Works

Employees must notify their employer of their child’s expected due date at least one month in advance. The same is true for 28-day or 21-day secondary leave. Remember that your employer must be notified at least one month in advance of your desired dates.

Finally, in order to claim your benefits, you must provide your organization with one of the following supporting documents:

  • A duplicate of your (updated) family history book
  • A copy of your acte de reconnaissance du père, or the father’s acknowledgment document
  • A copy of your child’s birth certificate 

If you are not the biological father but are the mother or primary parent’s spouse, you must send a copy of the child’s birth certificate accompanied by one of the following documents:

  • A copy of your civil union contract (Pacs)
  • A copy of your marriage certificate
  • A certificate of cohabitation dating back less than one year, co-signed by the mother or primary parent

Everything You Need To Know About Your Paternity Leave Notice Letter

The notification letter you send to your employer must include the following information: the start and end dates of your secondary paternity leave, as well as the total number of days to be taken. If you want to divide your leave, you must specify the date ranges.

You can send your employer a registered letter with a signature upon receipt, a hand-delivered letter with a signature upon receipt, or an email requesting receipt acknowledgment. If you need some assistance getting started, the French public service website has a standard paternity leave notice letter.

Employers are not permitted by law to refuse paternity or parental leave.

How Can You Extend Your Paternity Leave?

If your child is hospitalized, you can request a 30-day extension of the mandatory three-day childbirth leave period while your child is in the hospital. Other than that, paternity leave cannot be extended. However, at the end of your paternity leave, you have the option of taking up to a year of parental leave. However, the compensation conditions are different.

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How Maternity Leave Can Impact Your Health

Maternity leave is essential not only for the newborn’s health but also for the mother’s health. “Maternity leave [or the 12 weeks following birth] is often called the fourth trimester,” says Suzanne Bovone, M.D., an OBGYN at Obstetrics and Gynecology of San Jose, which is part of the Pediatrix Medical Group in Campbell, California. “Just as each trimester of pregnancy brought changes for the woman and baby, the postpartum period is a continuation of change. Inadequate maternity leave can cause anxiety and depression, as well as relationship problems and the inability to return to work.”

According to Dr. Bovone, an adequate maternity leave requires more than 12 weeks. “Many problems that require assistance do not become apparent until three to four months after birth,” she says. “Juggling the demands of self-care, childcare, relationships, and work obligations become nearly impossible.”

According to Dr. Bovone, some complications of postpartum side effects may include:

  • Sleep deprivation
  • Increased stress levels
  • Loss of coping mechanisms
  • Inability to think clearly and ask for help
  • Negative thoughts and feelings
  • Pelvic floor issues
  • Impact on urinary and bowel function
  • Negative impact on sexual health

It may take months to identify areas that require improvement. Unfortunately, with limited maternity leave, many [parents] are unable to provide adequate self-care once they return to work.

5 Benefits Of Paid Parental Leave

Because many men and women who are not currently parents will become parents at some point, offering family-friendly benefits as part of an organization’s employee value proposition is critical.

The following content examines the history of paid leave in France and discusses the top five advantages of providing this competitive benefit.

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Let’s get started!

The History of Paid Medical Leave In France

1938-1978: The French Policy To Keep Mothers At Home

The first professional inactivity compensation for a parent caring for a child, established in 1938, was the result of a long battle between social actors who, for the most part, followed the social doctrine of the Catholic Church, which sought to reimagine the conservative role of the mother. It began as a limited revaluation of family allowances, but this support system quickly became an independent benefit, the “single income allowance,” and an essential component of the family policy after WWII before gradually being called into question. The notion that fathers could benefit as well from this allowance is absent in this first stage and even contradicts the goal sought.

Parents who take parental leave for children born after January 1, 2015, can receive a new allowance, the “shared child education benefit”, established by the Law of August 4, 2014, on true equality between men and women. For the first time since the benefits compensating wage loss due to parental leave were established, an incentive to share the benefit equally among parents is being implemented. The duration of the compensation is thus reduced if neither parent takes each part of the leave: it lasts only two years if only one parent goes on leave, and three years if both parents take alternate leave. This reform is expected to increase father involvement with children and gender equality.

This goal of equality, which enjoys widespread support in public debates today, is, however, diametrically opposed to the French history of parental leave and benefits. The first goal was to compensate mothers for their professional inactivity so that they could financially manage what was perceived to be their natural role, that of educating their children and running a household. The “single income allowance,” which was created for this purpose and can be considered the ancestor of parental leave, played a key role in family policy for forty years, a role that is now largely forgotten. 

Family policy gradually and gradually drew itself away from its origins, shifting from a permanent withdrawal from the labor market rationale towards a temporary leave with a guarantee of return to work, and then to opening this leave to both men and women equally. Because legal equality did not prevent women from taking the majority of parental leaves, now is the time to seek “real equality” by limiting compensated leave time to only if one of the parents takes it. It is still a little bit early to assess the effects of this new paradigm shift.

Increased Employee Retention

Turnover has an effect on the bottom line. Replacing an employee costs an average of 21% of their base salary. Within a year of having a child, nearly 30% of working women leave the labor force.

Paid parental leave policies, on the other hand, encourage employees to return to work, allowing businesses to retain talent. According to a study conducted by the nonprofit Women’s Policy Research designated for the March of Dimes Center for Social Science Research, states that implemented paid parental leave policies saw a 20% decrease in female employees leaving their jobs within one year of the birth of their child. After five years, that figure rises to a 50% reduction.

According to a report from Rutgers’ Center for Women and Work, a woman who takes paid leave to take care of a child after birth has more chances to remain employed for nine to twelve months after birth compared to a woman who does not take leave.

Another study found that paid family leave gave low-income mothers the time they needed to bond with their newborns and arrange child care, removing one of the most common barriers to women returning to work.

Attract And Retain New Talent

Companies that provide paid parental leave to their employees benefit not only from retaining talent but also from attracting top talent.

A 2014 study of highly educated working fathers found that 9/10 thought it was important for an employer to provide paid parental leave if they were searching for a new job, and 6/10 thought it was “extremely important.”

Every benefit provided as part of the employee value proposition matters in a competitive market.

Increase Productivity And Boost Employee Morale

Employees feel more secure and satisfied when they have the option to return to work after taking a leave.

Increased productivity and employee morale are linked to job satisfaction. Also, given that a lot of employees are parents, and those who aren’t may become parents in the future, knowing that parental leave is available gives them peace of mind.

Companies that provide paid parental leave demonstrate that they value their employees and their families. This program benefits the mother’s health while giving parents time to bond with the new child.

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Improve Parents’ And Children’s Mental Health And Well-Being

It’s difficult to choose between working and being a parent. Parents who believe they have the choice to take paid leave to take care of their children avoid the stress of finding childcare or worrying about their sick child when they are unable to be with them.

Parental leave can also benefit children’s well-being and mental health. Through parental leave policies, both men and women can bond with their children. Children do not have to be separated from their parents during the critical first few months of their lives, important events, or when they are sick when employees have the option of taking paid family leave.

Paid parental leave for fathers has been linked to increased father bonding and child engagement. Children’s health and development can benefit from increased bonding and engagement. Unfortunately, one study found that seven out of ten fathers only took ten days or less of parental leave.

Increased Public And Private Investment

Offering paid parental leave policies benefits both society and the economy. Paid family leave can also help to reduce racial wage disparities for minority populations.

Studies also show that having the time to care for their child after birth has health benefits, such as lower infant hospitalization rates and improved maternal health.

Parental leave benefits public health by allowing parents to care for their children as well as themselves, reducing illness spread and improving mental health.

Designing A Parental Leave Policy

When developing a paid family leave policy, several factors must be considered. Employers may inquire about the following:

  • How much money will the employee receive while on leave?
  • How many days off work can the employee take?
  • Is time off required to be consecutive, or can it be taken in spurts?
  • What is the procedure for approving leave?
  • How will the leave be distributed?
  • What is the procedure for returning the employee to work?
  • What type of leave policy (parental, maternity, or paternity) will you implement?
  • Who is protected by the policy?
  • Will parental leave policies be consistent with other types of paid leave?
  • How does parental leave differ from other time-off policies available to all employees?
  • What are the legal implications or considerations of providing a family leave policy?

As employers consider their paid family leave options, there are three common types that many organizations choose to provide:

  • Paid parental leave
  • Paid maternity leave
  • Paid paternity leave

Both fathers and mothers are eligible for paid parental leave. It frequently works in the same way and coincides with family medical leave. Paid leave at 100% of the employee’s base pay for a specified period is a common practice. Paid parental leave typically allows for the following:

  • After giving birth to a child, a parent should take some time off.
  • The individual who has given birth’s spouse or partner takes time off to take care of the child after birth.
  • Time away from work to adopt or foster a child and care for the child after adoption or placement.
  • Parents must take time off after the birth of their children to care for them.
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Paid maternity leave enables mothers to take time off work after giving birth to a child. It can also be administered during the placement of a child after adoption or foster care. Maternity leave, like paid parental leave and paid paternity leave, is frequently taken concurrently with FMLA leave. In other words, maternity leave would be deducted from an employee’s FMLA balance as well. If the company has a sick leave or short-term disability policy, maternity leave may overlap with those benefits.

A study of 1,700 men and women aged 25 to 45 was conducted by Promundo and Dove Men+Care. According to the report, Helping Dads Care, 73% of fathers felt there was little workplace support for fathers, and 69% said they would switch jobs to spend more time with their children. Furthermore, one in every five people said they were afraid of losing their jobs if they used up all of their paternity leave.

These statistics show that working fathers want time off to care for their children just as much as mothers do, but they are hesitant to take it, even when it is permitted by company policy.

Paternity leave is essentially fathers’ maternity leave. Paternity leave enables fathers to take time off after the birth of a child or to place a child in foster care or adoption.

Tips To Encourage Parental Leave Policy Utilization

To encourage employees to return to work after parental leave and to increase the use of parental leave policies, the policy should include the following provisions:

  • Allow for the easy integration of family schedules with the employee’s work schedule.
  • Encourage both fathers and mothers to take equal parental leave.
  • Use a “use it or lose it” component to ensure that the time off is used.
  • Ensure that job protection, as well as income and benefit protections, are in place.
  • Provide fathers and mothers with equal work-life parental leave benefits.
  • Assure employees that there will be no negative consequences for taking time off.
  • Use incentives to encourage parental leave participation.

The following are some best practices for developing a parental leave policy:

  • Offering at least 14 weeks of maternity leave.
  • Giving fathers or same-sex partners a set number of weeks of paid time off.
  • Allowing intermittent leaf growth.
  • While on leave, offer a replacement rate of at least two-thirds of an employee’s base salary.
  • Clearly identifying the appropriate time to return to work after your leave has expired.

Additional Family-Friendly Benefits

Aside from paid parental leave, there are numerous other family-friendly benefits that an organization could provide to its employees. Childcare on-site or nearby is an excellent perk for parents with children. Other family-friendly features include a nursing room and the hosting of family-friendly events.

Employees Want To Have Paid Family Leave

Paid parental leave can boost productivity, boost employee morale, assist employers in retaining and attracting top talent, and have a positive impact on social disparities as well as the health and well-being of employees and their children.

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Frequently Asked Questions

How Much Paternity Leave Are Fathers Entitled To In France?

Paternity leave is granted for 25 days or 32 days in the case of multiple births. The adoption leave is set at 16 weeks, or 22 weeks if more than one child is being adopted.

In France, Who Pays For Parental Leave?

Your employment contract will be suspended during your maternity leave. However, as a mother, you will receive daily payments from the French Social Security equivalent to 100% of your salary.

What Is Maternity Leave Called In France?

Women can take maternity leave (congé maternité) up to 16 weeks, usually six weeks before and ten weeks after the due date. If a woman has her third child, this time can be extended to 26 weeks.

Final Words

The French history of parental leaves reflects the gradual evolution of the roles of both parents over the last century. Legal developments are taking place in a social context in which parental leave remains the mother’s prerogative, and task sharing remains deeply unbalanced. The outcome of the most recent reform, which aims to give 100,000 fathers parental leave in 2017, remains to be seen. This goal would imply that approximately 25% of fathers decide to take parental leave for the approximately 440,000 beneficiaries of free choice of activity supplements. This was admissible as of December 31, 2015 (Demangeot et al., 2016, p. 3). This percentage is comparable to that of Germany following the implementation of the Elterngeld reform in 2017: 32% of fathers now take parental leave, compared to 3% prior to the reform. The flat-rate nature of the Prepare allowance, on the other hand, may slow a similar evolution in France, where leave compensation is proportional to salary in Germany.