Paternity Leave Provisions in France

Paternity Leave Provisions in France

Just as we described when summarising the provisions for maternity leave in French workplaces, paternity leave is taken in two separate parts.

However, the combined duration of paternity leave is 25 calendar days for the birth of one child, and 32 days if the birth involves twins or more children.

A certain amount of paternity leave must legally be granted, regardless of the employee’s length of service and employment contract classification (permanent or fixed-term, for example).

Mandatory childbirth leave

Before the paternity leave period officially begins, the father must take three days’ mandatory childbirth leave.  This period of leave automatically begins either on the day of the child’s birth or on the next working day, and the employer is legally obliged to grant it.

Mandatory childbirth leave is paid normally, as though the days had been worked.  To justify the leave, the employee must provide a copy of his new baby’s birth certificate.

Stage One: Mandatory paternity leave

Following mandatory childbirth leave, the employee must take the next four calendar days as the first stage of paternity leave, which is also mandatory.

Stage Two: Non-mandatory paternity leave

The next 21 days, or 28 days in the case of two or more children, can be taken all together or as two separate periods.  Each leave period must be of at least five days’ duration and be taken within six months of the child’s date of birth.

Notification requirements and paternity pay

At least one month’s notice must be provided of the employee’s intention to take non-mandatory paternity leave (whether this is intended to start before or after the child’s birth), either in writing or verbally.  As long as this deadline is respected, the employer cannot refuse the leave request. 

As with maternity pay, paternity pay is administered by the French social security system.  Payments take the form of a daily benefit that is based on the employee’s average wage over the preceding three months, up to a set maximum amount.

Eligibility for paternity pay

The employee must be registered with the French social security system for a minimum of 10 months, and have worked for a minimum of 150 hours before the request for paternity leave is submitted (or 600 hours in the case of intermittent work).

As with maternity pay, collective bargaining agreements may allow for more favourable compensation than is provided by the French social security system, such as full continuation of salary.  Because of this, employers should always check any relevant agreements carefully.

Following paternity leave, the employee can expect to return to their current job, or a similar role with at least equivalent pay.

Can we help you navigate paternity leave and pay in France?

Our experienced, bilingual HR consultants can offer bespoke advice about legal and culture-specific employment practices on both sides of the Channel.

Contact us to arrange your free initial consultation.

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