parental leave – Rights and procedures

November 2017

How to apply for and obtain a parental leave at the arrival of a child in your home. What to know about the conditions to be met, the duration and aid.
parental leave - Rights and procedures


The parental leave is a suspension of the employment contract or a reduction in working time at the initiative of the employee who wishes to care for a child recently arrived in the home. During this period, the parent can affect specific help CAF.

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To qualify for parental leave, the employee must have at least one year of seniority in the company.

The right to parental leave is related to the birth or adoption of a child or children.


An employee may request:

  • or the suspension of his employment contract during the period of parental leave;
  • or a move to part-time parental right, with a minimum of 16 hours per week.

This second solution allows it to retain part of the salary he was receiving full time.

The employer may not refuse a request for part-time parental leave. However, it remains free to fix the new working hours of the employee if the two parties fail to agree. This choice falls within its power of direction. The employee can not therefore set its own working hours and impose his employer.

Refusal of the employer

When the employee meets the requirements of the Labor Code, the employer can not refuse to take a parental leave. This applies regardless of the amount of the company's workforce. TPEs are therefore also covered by this obligation.


In case of refusal of the employer, the employer is liable to a penalty of 5th class fine.


The employment contract can not include clauses restricting the use of the right to parental leave. If that is the case, these clauses are considered null legally.

Refusal extension

The employer can not refuse an extension of parental leave or processing of parental leave in part-time.


Date of demand

The right to parental leave can be exercised at the end of maternity leave or adoption leave and up to the third birthday of the child, deadline parental leave or part-time work.

Notice period

The employee must notify the employer two months before the start of parental leave or part-time (or a month before, when the leave begins at the end of maternity leave).

Letter of request

The employee informs the employer through a parental leave application letter (see our model). Permission is granted for an initial period of one year.

When the employee requests to move to part-time is the question of the new working hours. Failing agreement of the parties, it is the employer that last spring returns the right to set the employee to comply with its decision. However, case law considers that the refusal of these hours the employee does not amount to serious misconduct if these hours are incompatible with family obligations of the employee (Court of Cassation, judgment of 1 April 2003).

To send his mail, the employee who wants to switch to part-time can help our model of parental leave application letter part-time.



The initial duration of leave or part-time is one year at most. However, leave may be extended twice and thus end when the child reaches the age of 3.

If the child was adopted before the age of three, leave or part-time may be extended up to three years after the arrival of the child.


In case of adoption of a child aged three to sixteen, adoptive parents also have the right to leave or part-time work. But his term in this case is limited to one year (not renewable) from the arrival of the child.

multiple births

If births (twins, triplets ...) or multiple adoptions, parental leave can be extended up to the child's entry to kindergarten.

If the adoption or multiple birth involves three or more children, parental leave may be extended five times until the sixth birthday of children.


When the employee wants to interrupt his vacation, he must send a letter requesting interruption of parental leave (see our model) to his employer.


For the duration of the leave, the employee may not engage in activity other than that of childminder.


It is possible to extend twice the period of leave or part-time (three times with the agreement of the employer) until the deadline (third birthday of the child). The employee who wishes to renew his leave must send the employer a letter requesting parental leave extension (model).

At the end of each period, the employee may resume his position or activity full-time, without delay and without formality.

leave ends

At the end of the leave or period of part-time, the employee finds her previous job or a similar job with equivalent pay. On his return to the company, the employee must be offered a job interview by an employer. Skip this interview can allow it to identify its possible training needs and consider their career prospects.

If the employee wishes to extend his leave or part-time, he must inform the employer of his decision one month before the end of the first period. The employee can choose either to extend her leave or work part-time or to transform his leave in part-time or vice versa via a letter of request processing of parental leave (see our model).

An employer can not deprive an employee of his parental leave, even if it was late in sending its extension request. This delay can not justify a dismissal for dereliction of duty (Case Appeal Court of Versailles of 12 April 2016).

Aids CAF

Under certain conditions, the employee may receive an additional allowance paid by the family allowance fund.


The rules on parental leave were modified for children born or adopted on or after 1 January 2015. The main change introduced by this reform concerns the period of parental leave during which parents can access assistance in Caf: Benefit shared child's education (prepares).
If the first child, the maximum duration of payment of the Caf aids is now 6 months for each parent (or 1 year in total if both parents each take their 6-month leave).
If the couple had a dependent child at the time of birth, the maximum benefit period is now fixed at 24 months for each of them, within the 3rd birthday of the child. Consequence: to receive assistance for 36 months (3 years), both parents must now take their parental leave. In this context, they can divide the duration of their leave as they wish (18 months or 24 months each for one and 12 months for the other, for example).


Since 2015, the Prepare (shared delivery of the child's education) replaced the former supplement for free choice of activity (CLCA). If it meets the applicable conditions, parental leave in parent can benefit from this new service.

The Prepares (or CLCA) is then combined with the basic allowance of the Paje.


The amount of aid to parental leave (Prepare) is set at 390.52 euros per month for total cessation of activity. But the amount of the allowance is less important if the parent works part time. To know the relevant figures see the amount of Prepares (using parental leave).


The help of the Caf takes the form of a monthly payment. The duration of the payment depends on the number of dependent children.


Unless more favorable rules in the collective agreement, the period of absence from work on parental leave is not taken into account for the calculation of her rights to paid holidays.


An employee returning from maternity leave is entitled to paid annual leave regardless of the retention period of leave. However, for parental leave, the legal situation is unclear. For more information, see the right to carry paid leave for parental leave.


Parental leave does not protect against dismissal. An employer may therefore dismiss an employee on parental leave, provided of course that it is not taking parental leave as such justifies dismissal.

The employer failed to respect a particular dismissal procedure, and whether a dismissal for misconduct or redundancy. However, the law provides that the father or mother of the child can not be dismissed (e) in the 4 weeks following the birth of the child.


A father or mother on parental leave may waive resume work after the leave. To do this, he may resign his employer under the conditions usually applicable to any resignations.


The duration of parental leave may be taken into account as part of the validation of quarters for the calculation of retirement. It may well lead to an equal increase in the length of leave. However, it is not possible to combine this with the right supplements for children: the increase for parental leave will be privileged if it is more favorable. This is your retirement fund that then opt for the best solution for you. In all cases, the employee must ask his employer a certificate of parental leave in order to assert its rights.

See also

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