From parental leave to birth leave: a fresh update

At his press conference a month ago, President Macron announced the transformation of parental leave (created in 1977) into birth leave.

Parental leave is a measure that allows parents, following their maternity or paternity leave, to suspend their professional activity.

What is the current situation?

At the moment, parental leave can be requested from the end of maternity or adoption leaves, until the child’s third birthday. It can last up to one year and be renewed twice, thus reaching up to three years.

A private-sector employee who takes advantage of it will have their salary suspended but can benefit from 428.71 euros per month from the Social Welfare Office (CAF).

According to the President, the current parental leave length, which can extend up to three years, distances women from the workforce. Furthermore, it is poorly and inadequately compensated.

What could happen in the future regarding the situation?

The French Government intends to introduce a six-month birth leave policy for both parents. By reducing the duration of the leave, the Government aims to improve its compensation. At this stage, we know that a part of the compensation will be funded by social security and can be completed by the employer, to reach 100% of the salary.

What is still to be decided?

The French President has been silent regarding the future level of the financial benefit to be paid in this context. It is likely that the new scheme as a whole allows the French State to save money at the end of the day (although it is supposed to strengthen French demography, or so the President claimed).

The question of whether this leave can be taken simultaneously by both parents or consecutively has not yet been resolved.

Also, we are still awaiting the announcement of a provisional timetable. Even though the Government has announced the creation of birth leave for 2025, we do not actually know when the reform will come into effect.

This article was first published on our French member MGG Legal‘s website. For more insights on employment law rules in France, please reach out to our representative Marijke Granier-Guillemarre, Founder and Managing Partner of the firm.