Why extend the paternity leave and who is eligible?
Since July 1st, 2021, the French Government has increased the duration of the paternity leave from 11 to 25 days in order to:
– offer better conditions for newborns’ development, allowing the second parent to be more present during their first days of life,
– contribute to rebalancing domestic and parental tasks between the parents,
– establish improved gender equality.
The new paternity leave is open to employees without any condition of seniority and whatever the nature of the employment contract (indefinite term or fixed term contract).
It can be requested by any employee who is the father of the child or who is living as a couple with the mother of the child.
The paternity leave must be taken following the birth leave and can be split
It is now mandatory for fathers (or mother’s living partners) to take a 3-day birth leave at the birth of their child and before starting their paternity leave. This birth leave of 3 business days must be taken either from the day of birth or from the first working day following the child’s birth and is paid by the employer at 100% rate.
The new paternity leave increased to 25 days includes:
– a first period of 4 calendar days to be taken immediately following the birth leave. The employee must not work during this first leave of 4 days, provided as mandatory under the French law. Consequently, it is mandatory that the employee takes at least 7 days (3 days of birth leave + 4 days of paternity leave);
– a second period of 21 calendar days to be taken within the six months following the birth. This second period of 21 days is not mandatory for the employee and can be divided into two periods of at least 5 calendar days each.
An employee whose child is born on a Saturday will take his birth leave of 3 days as per the first working day following the birth (Monday), until the Wednesday included. The first 4-day period of paternity leave is taken following the birth leave, as per the Thursday and is counted in calendar days, so it ends on the Sunday.
The second period of the paternity leave (i.e. the 21 remaining calendar days) can be taken immediately after the first period, provided that the employee has informed his employer at least one month before its start date.
The employee can also decide to take his 21 remaining days of paternity leave split in two periods of 5 and 16 days, taken in different months.
The paternity leave must be requested by the employee
The employee must inform his employer of the expected date of birth as well as of the dates of his paternity leave(s), by observing a notice period of one month. This information must be communicated in writing, preferably by registered letter with acknowledgment of receipt.
The French Government propose a template which is available for the employees on this internet page: https://www.service-public.fr/simulateur/calcul/CongePaterniteAccueil
In addition to this written request, the employee who is the father of the child must send to his employer one the following documents:
– a full copy of the child’s birth certificate,
– or the copy of the updated family record book,
– or a copy of the act of recognition of the child.
If the employee is not the father of the child but the spouse or partner of the mother, he must send the full copy of the child’s birth certificate and one of the following documents:
– an extract of the marriage certificate,
– or a copy of the civil solidarity pact called “PACS”,
– or a certificate of cohabitation of less than one year,
– or a sworn statement of marital life co-signed by the mother of the child.
The employer must inform the social security fund of the employee about the dates of leave
The request of paternity leave cannot be refused by the employer, who must however be informed at least one month before its start date.
At the beginning of the paternity leave and for each period of leave, if not taken consecutively, the employer must transmit to the employee’s social security office via the payroll process a salary certificate and a form which specifies the dates of the paternity leave.
The employee will then receive a social security allowance during his paternity leave if he meets the following requirements:
– he has worked at least 150 hours during the 3 months preceding the start date of the paternity leave, or he has received a salary at least equal to 1015 times the SMIC (i.e. € 10,637.20 in 2021) and subject to social contributions during the 6 months preceding the start date of the paternity leave,
– or in the situation of discontinuous activity, he has worked at least 600 hours or he has received a salary subject to social contributions and at least equal to 2030 times the SMIC (i.e. € 21,274.40 in 2021) during the year preceding the start date of the paternity leave.
There is no obligation under the law for the employer to continue paying part of the employee’s salary, in addition to this social security allowance. However, such obligation can be provided for in the national collective bargaining agreement applicable in the Company, as well as other provisions relating to the paternity leave and which could be more favorable for the employee.