Mandatory paternity leave will be the new normal in France in the near future. This week President Emmanuel Macron shared his upcoming plan that will allow fathers to extend their time off to one month with a portion of that time period being obligatory.
Addressing the importance of "intimate" moments between both parents and their newborns, President Emmanuel Macron said: "When a baby arrives in the world, there is no reason it should be only the mom who takes care of it. It's important to have greater equality in sharing responsibilities."
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As of now, fathers—or a second parent in same-sex couples—are allowed to take up to 14 days off work following the birth of their child. Macron hopes to double that number, taking the paternity leave to 28 days. On top of that, fathers will receive daily allowances which would be paid by the state health insurance system of France. This time off would be mandatory for at least seven days.
According to Macron, companies that do not allow their employees to take a week of paid paternity leave will be fined €7,500 ($8,750.00). "Time is an essential factor in establishing an important link between the child and the parents," Macron added in his Instagram announcement. "The current 14-day period is too short."
The New York Times reports that fathers in France have been able to take paternity leave since 2002, but according to data laid out by neuropsychiatrist Boris Cyrulnik, only an estimated 70% of fathers actually take that time off.
Currently, first-time mothers in France are permitted to take at least 16 weeks of maternity leave. During that time off, the mothers receive daily allowances from the state. After the birth of their third child, mothers are entitled to 26 weeks of maternity leave. For all moms, eight weeks of maternity leave are mandatory.
Macron's plan for an extended paternity leave is set to go into place in July 2021.