Family Leave in France

Payrolling & HR

France has one of the most generous paid time off schemes for their workers. French employees can be allotted almost a year off for pregnancies if certain criteria are met. This, in addition to a high minimum annual leave, means France has more options for paid time off than almost any other country in the world.

In order to be eligible for medical leave, the employee must have worked for at least 150 hours over the 3 calendar months or 90 days prior to stopping work. The employee must also have received a salary of at least 1,015 times the hourly minimum wage in the 6 months leading up to the sickness. The hourly minimum wage for 2018 is €9.88 so in order to be eligible to receive the medical benefit, the employee must have made at least €10,028.20 6 months prior to falling ill. For medical leave, the employee must have a note written by a doctor and can start collecting the medical leave benefit after the fourth missed day due to sickness.

After the 6th month of sick leave, the employee must meet a different set of conditions

  • On the date of work stoppage, be able to prove 12 months of payments in the sickness benefits scheme
  • Have worked at least 600 hours during the 12 calendar months prior to stopping work
  • Have received income totalling at least 2,030 times the hourly minimum wage (€20,056.40) in the 12 months prior to stopping work.

As for how much the employee will receive during the sick leave, it depends on how many children they have and also how long they have been out of work. For employees with less than 3 depended children, the maximum gross total is €43.80 starting to be paid on the 4th day of illness. For those employees with more than 3 dependent children, it is €43.80 from the fourth day of illness to the 30th day. After this, the wage is increased to €58.40 per day.

For maternity leave, mothers receive different amounts of leave depending on how many children that are having, or already have. For a single birth bringing the mother’s number of children to one or two, mothers receive 16 weeks off. These 16 weeks are to be taken six weeks before the birth and 10 weeks after birth. For mothers with three or more kids these number increase to 26 weeks off: eight before birth and 18 after. For those bringing twins into the world, mothers can expect 34 weeks off. Twelve weeks coming before the birth and another 22 after. Finally, mothers expecting twins or more will receive 46 weeks off, 24 before and an additional 22 after. That’s almost a whole year!

French fathers receive paternity leave as well. Male employees are granted three days leave on the birth or adoption of a child. Fathers are also entitled to 11 consecutive days off (18 days if there are multiple births) which must be taken within the first four months directly following the birth. There is also parental leave available for both parents.

Employees who have worked for at least one year with their employer can take parental leave or work part time. If the employee chooses parental leave, their employment contract is suspended and the employer does not have to pay compensation. Although the employees can receive certain indemnities from the social security system. If a child is sick, parents are also allowed to take time off, usually three to five days, depending on the age of the child and the number of children the parents have. If the child suffers from a serious illness, disability, or has an accident which requires continuous parental presence or care, parents can take a leave of 310 days over the course of three years.

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