The 28-day paternity leave comes into force in France

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Announced in September by Emmanuel Macron, this extension of paternity leave should allow young fathers to get more involved with their child and reduce inequalities between women and men.

If July 1 often rhymes with rising gas or electricity bills, this year it brings good news to new dads: the paternity leave of 28 days, including a mandatory week, comes into force from Thursday. Long awaited, this societal reform should allow fathers to invest more in parenthood and household life.

Announced in September by the Head of State and voted in the Social Security budget, this reform of the leave doubles the duration for a father – or second parent – of an unborn or adopted child, to 25 days plus 3 days of birth against 11 plus 3 currently.

Nicolas, a nurse in a nursing home in Morbihan, whose little girl is due to be born in a little less than two weeks, is concerned.

“This is our first child. We can not wait to meet this little being and discover his universe,” he told AFP. “Being able to take a month’s leave is a right and a very strong social asset to enter fully into fatherhood and also to be there to replace the mother at home”.

This 40-year-old future father has already planned everything. To allow his colleagues to “breathe also during the summer”, he will take a few days of vacation around the birth in mid-July then in August, before taking all his leave in September.

A request “immediately validated” by his employer, specifies Nicolas, who believes that “the look on the place of the dad has changed”.

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In the case of a multiple birth, seven days of leave are added, ie 32 against 18 currently.

Regarding remuneration, the three days of birth leave remain the responsibility of the employer, while the remaining days will be compensated by Social Security.

Encourage fathers

“A real development,” said David Malczuk, 27, who will welcome his second child at the end of July and has already organized everything to take a month’s absence from work.

When his first child was born, this industrial designer had saved his 11 days off to go with his wife and their few weeks old son to Russia, where his wife is from.

“She gave birth on a Wednesday. I stayed with her in the maternity ward until Sunday and Monday, it was back to work. I was exhausted, I had bags under my eyes,” he recalls. . “This time, I will be able to create a rhythm with the baby and recover some energy”.

Optional, paternity leave is currently taken by around seven out of ten fathers, a figure which has changed little since its inception in 2002 and which conceals strong social inequalities: 80% of employees on permanent contracts use it, against less than 60% in CDD.

“It is not only a question of envy of the fathers: there are still many psychological brakes, in particular vis-à-vis the company”, estimates the psychotherapist Isabelle Filliozat, vice-president of the “Commission of the first 1000 days “which had recommended to the government to increase this leave to nine weeks.

According to her, this reform should “encourage more fathers to take it” because “the compulsory week can help them in their negotiations with their boss”.

Changing roles at home

Much of the attitude towards parenthood is formed in the first few days after birth.

“It’s not a question of role or gender,” insists Ms. Filliozat. “If we are with a child on a daily basis, we become more sensitive, attentive and we develop their parenting skills”.

However, “fathers do not have enough opportunity to have time with their toddlers, they weave less attachment, feel a little less concerned and may tend to leave parenting tasks to the mother, which generates many conflicts “, she analyzes.

These 28 days, however, remain “derisory” for Marie-Nadine Prager, of the PAF Collective (for a feminist parenthood).

>> To read: Extension of paternity leave: what impact on gender equality?

“It is probably better to forge a bond with the baby but not to review the place of each within the home,” said the activist, now pleading for parental leave on the Scandinavian model, well paid and distributed between the parents.

Changes could take place at the start of the school year, at the end of a mission on the reconciliation of professional and family time conducted since March by Christel Heydemann, of Schneider Electric France, and the sociologist Julien Damon.

With AFP

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