Parental leave: shorter duration, better compensation... What possible reform?


Parental leave: shorter duration, better compensation... What possible reform?

PARENTAL LEAVE. A reflection to reform parental leave will be initiated in the coming weeks. What could the government decide?

"It's part of the lines of thought." This Thursday, July 27, 2023, Olivier Véran, government spokesperson, confirmed that an overhaul of the parental leave system was going to be put on the agenda. The announcement was made by Aurore Bergé on July 25 in the columns of Ouest-France. The new Minister of Solidarity and Families explained "to think about a shorter but better compensated parental leave." Olivier Véran to support on BFMTV / RMC: "The average duration is much lower than the theoretical maximum duration because it is not very profitable. When there is a social support system that is underused, it is legitimate to s 'interrogate.' He assures "that we do not have ready-made answers" and that a "consultation" will take place on the subject. Objective: to make it "more attractive" in the words of Aurore Bergé.

Indeed, figures from the Center for Studies and Research on Qualifications (CEREQ) published in 2021 showed that only 1 in 3 women take parental leave after the birth of their first child, compared to 7% for men. The proportion climbs slightly to 35% for women after the arrival of the second, but remains similar for men. The rate of use of this system is therefore far from being the majority, in particular because of its remuneration rules. How might these evolve?

This is not the first time that the subject of parental leave has been brought up. Several reports have, in recent years, shed light on the flaws of this system. The main black spot lies in the remuneration of the people who use it. Today, taking parental leave can be combined with the Child Education Shared Benefit (PreParE), for a minimum amount of €428.71. This allowance can be supplemented by other aid, but the conditions for accumulation are complex and depend on each person's situation, in particular if aid is already received in another context. This is a real obstacle to taking parental leave because no additional remuneration is paid by the employer. By way of comparison, the amount of the RSA when you have a dependent child is €911.63.

In order to allow parents to take this leave following maternity and paternity leave, proposals have been made in the past to make the system more attractive. Thus, in 2019, the General Inspectorate of Social Affairs recommended reducing the duration of the leave to eight months but paying the equivalent of 60% of the net salary as compensation. In 2021, the Damon-Heydemann report followed the same line by advancing, this time, the idea of ​​six months parental leave for each parent, compensated in proportion to salary (without however advancing a threshold).

At this stage, no work has been started by the government to initiate a reform of parental leave and the possibility of reviewing the conditions of the device was simply mentioned by Aurore Bergé. It remains to be seen whether this will be on the political agenda in the months to come.

In addition to paternity and maternity leave, parents of young children, fathers and mothers, can stop working to take care of them thanks to parental education leave. If you are an employee, you must have acquired one year of seniority within your company to benefit from it. The length of parental leave depends on the number of children born or adopted. Its initial duration is one year, but it can be renewed. During the parental education leave, the employment contract and the remuneration paid by the employer are suspended. Family benefits from the Family Allowance Fund (Caf), paid subject to means testing, can however take over.

The duration of parental leave is initially one year. However, it varies according to the number of children born, if you have had twins or triplets for example. If you have had a child, for example, it is possible to request parental leave for one year, renewable twice, until your child's third birthday. Bear in mind that in the event of the adoption of a child between the ages of 3 and 16, parental leave cannot be renewed. Here is a table summarizing the duration of parental leave according to your situation.