France to extend paid parental leave from 2025

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France to extend paid parental leave from 2025
Mother holds a newborn baby's hand. Photo: Christine Olsson/TT

France is to set up a system of extended parental leave from 2025 that will be “much better paid” than the current system, the health minister has said.


"From 2025, we're going to create a new right for families", health minister Aurore Bergé announced in an interview with L’Express.

The new family leave system is intended to help young parents take time off work to look after their baby, while receiving better compensation.

“From 2025, we're going to create a new right for families,” Bergé said. “After maternity leave and paternity leave, parents will each be entitled to family leave, which they can take at the same time or one after the other, full-time or part-time.”


Despite its reputation for generous conditions for workers, France's current parental leave allowance is lower than many of its European neighbours. 

Mothers get 16 weeks of maternity leave and fathers 25 days, after which either parent can take extra leave, but at a severely reduced level of pay - around 80 percent of mothers return to work after 16 weeks.

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Details of the expanded parental leave have yet to be confirmed as Bergé is currently conducting consultations with trades unions and employers’ organisations over the reforms.

The new leave – for which parents will receive more than the current €429 per month – could run in conjunction with existing parental leave schemes. 

In July, shortly after joining the government, Bergé drew criticism after calling for “reflection” on “shorter, but better compensated parental leave, to give families a real choice”.

Created in 1977 and reformed several times since, the current parental leave system enables parents to stop work until their child is three years old. 

Under reforms in 2014, the maximum length of time one parent could take was reduced to two years, with the third year available for the other parent. It was intended as an incentive for fathers to opt to take the leave, but take-up under the new scheme has been low.

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Under the current statutory maternity leave mothers get 16 weeks, of which six weeks must be taken before the projected birth date. After that the parental leave - at a lower rate of pay - kicks in.

Mothers can waive part of their maternity leave, but must stop working for at least eight weeks, including six after giving birth.

For dads the paternity leave is currently 25 days, up from 11 days as recently as 2021.

READ ALSO EXPLAINED: How much time can parents in France take off for sick children?

By contrast Sweden, famous for its generous parental policies, offers 480 days of paid parental leave per child.



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