Emmanuel Macron announced on Wednesday the doubling of the length of leave granted to fathers from July 1, 2021. Seven days will be made compulsory, in order to increase the rate of recourse to the most precarious workers. Ultimately, this will cost Social Security 500 million more.

The sum of birth and paternity leave will be increased from 14 to 28 days.

A small month of leave for new fathers, that is to say 28 days, instead of 14 today. On the occasion of a visit this Wednesday to the maternal and child protection center of Longjumeau in Essonne, Emmanuel Macron announced the first extension of paternity leave since its creation in 2002 and the introduction of a compulsory part.

The reform will be included in the Social Security financing bill for 2021 and implemented from July 1. It will double the cost of the device, which will increase from 260 million euros this year to around 520 million in 2021 and 780 million in 2022, thanks to the expected improvement in the rate of use.

This decision follows the work of the Committee on the First 1,000 Days of the Child, conducted under the aegis of neuropsychiatrist Boris Cyrulnik. In its report submitted to the Secretary of State for Children and Families, Adrien Taquet, on September 8, the committee recommended increasing paternity leave to 9 weeks, as in Finland. And she showed, on scientific grounds, that to establish a sufficient bond of attachment with the father, 14 days were not enough.

In the European peloton

“This decision is a step forward”, welcomed Emmanuel Macron. He recalled that it was “Above all a measure which is favorable to equality between women and men”, “Great cause of the five-year term”, and “It is on this that there was a very strong mobilization”. The Elysée recalls that 80% of fathers on CDI take their leave against less than half of those on CDD. The reform must also improve the lot of women. Because the burden of the child rests primarily on the mothers, to the detriment of their career.

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Concretely, paternity leave will be extended from 11 days to 25 days, supported by Social Security up to the salary ceiling (3,428 euros per month). To this are added the three days of birth leave owed by the employer to any employee and remunerated by him in the same way as paid leave. With this extension, France will “Join the peloton of the five most advanced European countries in this field”, Spain, Finland, Norway, and Portugal, praises the Elysee.

Increase in recourse rate

The idea of ​​extending the duration of the birth leave (three days), which had been envisaged, was ultimately not retained. However, this reform will have a cost for employers. First, because some companies have negotiated compensation agreements for lost wages for their executives paid more than 3,428 euros per month. If paternity leave is extended, there will be more days to compensate.

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Then, the government decided to make seven days compulsory in this new paternity leave. Portugal, Belgium and Italy have already taken the plunge to ban work during part of paternity leave. In France, the offending employer will incur a fine of 7,500 euros (plus possibly damages), as for the compulsory 8 weeks of universal maternal leave.

Discussions continue

If the days of childbirth leave become compulsory, the rate of recourse for fathers will increase, and therefore cost more money to employers, who will continue to pay wages and contributions. This recourse rate currently stands at 67% over the entire 14-day period – it is rare for paternity leave recipients to request only a fraction of it. The government is counting on the stability of the recourse for the non-compulsory part, and on an increase to 80% of the compulsory part from 2021, then 90% in 2022.

The duration of compulsory leave has not yet been completely fixed, with discussions continuing with the social partners. In addition, members of Parliament will have their say. Among the majority parliamentarians, some argue that there is no reason to let Social Security alone bear the weight of the reform, and that it would be fair to require employers to participate in the effort, while they benefit from the stimulus package.

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