The cross : How does the extended paternity leave work which comes into effect on 1er July ?
Julien Damon: For all births, the father now has the obligation to stop for 7 days and can request to benefit from 21 additional days of paternity leave. As soon as he makes this request, the company will have the obligation to grant it to him. The total leave for the father is thus increased to 28 days. The law also provides for great flexibility: fathers can choose to stop immediately after birth or at any time until the child is six months old.
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This is therefore excellent news, which corresponds to a deep aspiration. From now on, the State legitimizes this involvement, while it remains sometimes difficult for men to put their professional career on hold because it does not correspond to the image they have of their role or because it remains very far from it. certain cultures and corporate realities. This is also why, until now, only 7 out of 10 fathers allowed themselves to take their paternity leave.
The cross : So this will move the lines?
JD: Stopping for 28 days could quickly become the norm in large private groups and the public sector. But there are two limits. First of all, this measure mainly concerns employees and it will be more difficult for the self-employed to benefit from it. Second, not all businesses are created equal.
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This leave will pose certain problems in very small and medium-sized businesses which nevertheless form the local economic fabric in the regions. For those who are already in difficulty by the health crisis, this will be an additional factor of concern. I think, however, that exemplarity will play a role in the end. These very small businesses will be able to negotiate solutions. There is an issue of employee satisfaction and attractiveness for their jobs.
The cross : How is France now compared to its neighbors?
JD: French paternity leave is now among the longest in the European Union and the OECD. There is room for improvement, however, on other family leaves, including parental education leave, which can be taken until the child is 3 years old. Today, it does not work well. Studies converge and show that it would be better for it to be shorter and better paid.
Despite this limitation, I believe that the French system, as a whole, has many virtues. It allows women who wish to continue working. However, this is not completely the case, for example, in the countries of the North, where the holidays are very generous but also very directive: there is a very strong injunction to stop working for a long time. However, the form of freedom that exists in France explains the good performance of fertility. The women who have the most children are those who can continue to work.