maternity leave system in France

France manages to be way ahead of many countries concerning a massive range of paid benefits. Childbirth is no exception, as the French seem to encourage it very much. And by encourage we mean financial benefits awarded to the new parents. French healthcare system protects pregnant women a lot. Either self-employed or employed, they enjoy many benefits and a high-degree of job protection. Well, let’s take it all step by step.

As it is known, maternity leave is required by law and is not a personal decision. In order to receive a maternity leave from l’Assurance Maladie in France, a woman needs to be properly informed about the importance of the qualification for Social Security. This should happen at least 10 months prior to the birth of the child. In other words, every woman must consider the qualification for Social Security before pregnancy.

The paid leave is financed by the French Social Security and is based upon the salaries of parents. To be eligible for maternity leave it is necessary to have 150 hours worked in the previous three months or 600 hours within 12 months, either half-time or periodically.

To receive prenatal care under France’s Maternity Insurance System, the future mom has to report her pregnancy before the end of the third month. Moreover, she has to register with a doctor or midwife in before giving birth and understand what services are available both for mom and her newborn.

The mom to be will benefit of medical examinations during the pregnancy and will receive a health booklet with all the necessary information for her to know throughout the 9 months.

All necessary prenatal medical analyses, as well as hospital expenses (epidural anesthesia, screenings for diseases of the baby, etc.), are fully covered by the Casse d’Assurance Maladie.  The pregnant is also freed from the flat charge for medications, paramedical services, and travel expenses.

As for employed pregnant women, they are not obliged to disclose their pregnancy until they decide to take maternity leave. They can notify about it verbally or by letter. Also, the company must keep the job available (or a similar one with at least the same wage) while returning from maternity leave. Generally, through Family Allowance laws in France, it is allowed to men and women receiving full salaries while on maternity leave.

Depending on the situation, maternity leave is allowed for 16 weeks if this is the first or the second child, 26 weeks for the third one, 34 weeks for twins and 46 weeks for triplets or more. In the case of premature births, the returning to work date does not change, and the maternity leave will still be based on the official due date.

As for paternity leave, fathers are allowed only 11 days paid leave or 18 days in case of multiple births. This short-term has made over 58.000 citizens sign a petition requesting a more extended conge parental. The petition claimed that a mother could be stressed and suffer lack of sleep if left alone with the baby just 11 days after giving birth.

Another type of parental leave is the adoption one. This is granted to parents adopting children as it follows: 10 weeks for adopting one baby and 22 weeks for adopting two or more babies. If parents are eligible for benefit payments for the period of their parental leave and if it is shared by both parents, the leave period is extended to 11 days, or 18 days if more than one baby is adopted.

Should you need more details regarding parental leave in France, feel free to contact us. We are always here to assist you.