Life Style

Towards shared, shortened and better paid parental leave?

Today’s family is no longer that of “Monsieur Gagnepain” and “Madame Aufoyer”. The formula sums up the essential stake of a report submitted on Wednesday 6 October: adapting family policy to today’s needs. It is signed by Julien Damon, sociologist of the family, and Christel Heydemann, European general manager of Schneider Electric. To achieve this, the two authors propose a series of shock measures to renovate, in particular, parental leave, which can be taken after maternity and paternity leave, but today very unattractive. Since a reform of 2015, the use of this leave has melted because it is poorly paid.

→ EXPLANATION. Parental leave convinced less than 1% of fathers

Conversely, in the family of tomorrow that the two authors sketch, at the birth of a child and until his first birthday, parents could choose to stay at home, thanks to a shared parental leave, shortened and better paid. This is the model of the Scandinavian countries with one distinction: leave is compulsory there while in France, the authors remain in favor of the free choice of parents.

Create a right opposable to a place in a crèche

Then, from the first year of the child, finding a place in a nursery or with a childminder would become a “enforceable” right for families, guaranteed by the State, in a logic of public service. No more lottery, inequalities between municipalities and personal situations … Early childhood would become a compulsory competence of the “municipal block”, where it is now only optional. Clearly, the municipalities should build nurseries or organize a supply of childminders to meet the needs.

In addition, on the “career point” model, which exists today at the time of retirement, each future parent would receive a personalized letter with the childcare offer that is most appropriate to their needs. Gone are also the hours of queuing at the early childhood service of the town hall or the desperate search for an available “nanny”. Finally, from 2 to 3 years old, the childcare offer should be better coordinated with the school to ensure the transition to kindergarten.

A subject under debate for the presidential election

Is such a revolution too good to be true? Does it have a chance to have the ear of the government or is it doomed to stay in the boxes? “This is not the time, at the end of the five-year term, to completely review parental leave”, moderates the State Secretariat for Children and Families in advance, which does not, however, exclude ” make a gesture ” on the family leave file. This report could, however, provide turnkey campaign arguments for the possible future candidacy of Emmanuel Macron, blows a good connoisseur of the subject.

In this perspective, the authors deliberately placed it under the sign of economic realism. They recall in the preamble that it is still companies that pay most of the family policy. And they strive to demonstrate the benefit that they can find in satisfying the family aspirations of their employees.

The pressure of a European directive soon in force

Above all, the president who will be elected next May may well have no other choice but to make an important gesture on the reform of parental leave, in reality imposed by Brussels. Indeed, a European directive, hotly debated for years, must come into force by May 2024. It states that at the birth of a child, after the current maternity and paternity leave, young parents who wish it will be able to stop working for two months each, while keeping a high salary, equivalent to a “Sufficient compensation” to allow parents to take turns to stop. This minimum must be set by the Member States and can then be extended. In any case, the current € 400 seems immediately disqualified.

→ ANALYSIS Europe imposes better paid parental leave

Emmanuel Macron could therefore be obliged to make a gesture, he who had retested, in 2019, a first version of the text which provided for remuneration for this leave up to daily allowances, that is, for France, at 50% of salary. A level deemed unsustainable for public finances.


“A strong desire of parents to stop for longer”

Marie-Andrée Blanc, President of the National Union of Family Associations (Unaf)

“We are delighted with the recommendations of this report because it draws on the conclusions of three surveys that we carried out with young parents. These all show that there is a very strong aspiration to be able to stop longer at the birth of a child. A very large majority of parents (86%) believe that they are in the best position to keep their baby until he is 6 months old. Two-thirds of mothers admit to having managed to be able to extend their maternity leave, with paid or unpaid leave. Fathers and mothers favor parental leave if it was better paid: 90% of mothers and 60% of fathers believe that they would have liked to benefit from it. This is why we are asking that parental leave be created accessible to all, compensated up to 75% of income until the child is 1 year old. “


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