Plans to extend paternity leave

Men are currently allowed 11 days of paid leave, and two-thirds take it

Fathers could be entitled to a month off work after birth - and a 'bonus' week if they choose to take it

FATHERS are encouraged to take a month off work to look after a new-born child under new measures put forward to the French government.

A report submitted to the minister for solidarity, Roselyne Bachelot, has called for both parents to have four weeks of paid leave immediately after birth. Men are currently eligible for just 11 days, capped at about €80 per day.

This shared leave would then be followed by a further 12 weeks of paid maternity leave, meaning the total entitlement for women remains unchanged at 16 weeks.

The reinforced paternity leave would not be compulsory, but if the father chooses not to benefit, it is lost. Parents would have no choice to split the time another way, if one wanted more time with the baby and the other less.

However, if the father takes the full entitlement, a "bonus" week would be offered as a reward that either parent can take up to a year after birth.

The recommendations have been drawn up by the Inspection Générale des Affaires Sociales (IGAS), which brings together 130 experts on social policy, and will be discussed at a conference of MPs, unions and managers on June 28.

IGAS says about two-thirds of fathers currently take their 11-day paternity leave entitlement, but many men are afraid to ask for more time off or a switch to part-time working, fearing disapproval from their bosses.

The group is also calling for a simpler procedure for workers who want to switch from full-time to part-time - and vice versa to allow other colleagues to easily cover for parental leave.

Related stories:
Parental leave rules explained

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