On May 12th 2021, the French government published a decree in the official journal to specify the exact terms for extending paid paternity leave from 14 to 28 days.
Voted five months ago as part of the 2021 Social Security Financial Act, the new benefits for French fathers will become effective on July 1st. Paid paternity leave will be doubled from 14 to 28 days, with a requirement to take the first 7 days at the child’s birth. The rest of the paternity leave may be divided into two periods of at least 5 days which must be taken before the child reaches the age of six months. A report issued in June 2018 by the Inspection Générale des Affaires Sociales (IGAS) highlighted the discrepancies in paternity leave depending on the father’s work status and contract.
In private companies, 80% of permanent employees request paternity leave, compared to 48% of employees with fixed-term contracts. The compensation system for this leave remains unchanged, with the employer responsible for paying the first 3 days.
The paternity leave extension is one of many measures proposed in the expert committee’s report published in September 2020, entitled “The Child’s First 1000 Days, Where It All Begins”, chaired by neuropsychiatrist Boris Cyrulnik. The evaluation was originally launched by President Macron in September 2019 when he assigned the task to Adrien Taquet, Secretary of State for Children and Families under the Health and Solidarity Minister; with neuropsychiatrist Boris Cyrulnik as the chairperson.
Their report considers the first 1000 days as the period from the fourth month of pregnancy until the child is 2 years old. The report also admits to extend this period from the preconception period until the child’s 3rd birthday.
A choice which validates the importance of child development before and after birth.
The report quotes a great deal of scientific evidence to highlight the importance of child development during these first 1000 days.
The authors explain that “Paternity leave reinforces the father-child bond. Even a paternity leave of just a few weeks can lead to the father participating more in the care and development of his child. A German study shows that fathers who receive eight weeks’ leave further strengthen their relationship with their child in the long term, and this stronger bonding was seen to be very valuable by fathers. Another recent study showed that a father’s involvement in his young child’s education and activities, as well as his feelings and reactions during play time, are influenced by such things as the decreased time at work in favor of more time available for his child.»