You know this friendly colleague, slightly handsome, who bumps into you a few days before you go back to work, even though you’ve slept 4 hours last night and who says this lunar thing to you: “Enjoy your last lazy mornings ! »? Uh… do people really know what the so misnamed “maternity leave” consists of? Because questions received ideas we have dug up some for you not stung by beetles.
1. It’s a vacation: FAAAAUUUUUX!
So yes, of course we see you coming: “Bah, wait, that’s called maternity leave, isn’t it? “. Yeah, so already, let’s start from the principle that the word vacation will never have the same meaning again from the arrival of the child, but that, in a pinch, we looked for it a little.
On the other hand, the concept of leave is rather intended to survive alongside an infant. Not so much going on holiday in the Maldives being covered by health insurance.
2. It’s a women’s thing: HUM HUM…
Well, there again, we see you coming: “No, but that’s called maternity leave, yes or no? “. Well, indeed, although we deplore it, maternity leave is still much longer than the short paternity leave granted to the father (or second parent). It varies according to the number of children to be born and the number of dependent children but starts at a minimum of 16 weeks for maternity leave and has been extended to (drum roll…) 25 days for men since July 1. 2021 against 11 days before. So yes, it’s better. But this is still very insufficient.
3. It is mandatory: yes
It is divided between prenatal leave and postnatal leave. Watch out, we’re going to throw out a lot of numbers, hang in there.
In the case of a single pregnancy, maternity leave lasts 16 weeks for a first or second child: 6 weeks before the birth and 10 after. Still for a single pregnancy, if you are expecting a third child it extends to 26 weeks (8 before birth and 18 after). And if you are expecting twins… Above all, you earn the respect and infinite esteem of all the other parents around you. It doesn’t do much, but it’s pretty cool. On the maternity leave side, you are entitled to 34 weeks for twins (12 before and 22 after birth) and 46 weeks for triplets or more (24 before birth and 22 after). And for the joke, do you want to know the duration of paternity leave in the event of multiple pregnancies? 32 days (against 18 previously). YAAAAY.
4. A pregnant employee must necessarily reveal her pregnancy to her employer: nope!
Finally, let’s say that she is required to do so before she goes on maternity leave – which seems quite logical. That being said, the law does not set any time limit on when to inform the employer. It is therefore up to you to judge what seems to you the most appropriate in terms of organization. And then after a while, we’re not going to lie to each other, it becomes difficult to hide.
5. It’s too long, it’s complicated for the employer
Seriously? In Sweden, it’s 68 weeks (but paid 80% of salary)! What if we stopped always finding reasons to make women feel guilty? The WHO recommends breastfeeding infants up to 6 months, while in France women start working again when their babies are 2 and a half months old. It is enough to take a world tour of the longest maternity leaves to see that we are really in the mass in France.
6. You will have plenty of time for yourself: yes and no
So let’s be clear: we’re only talking about prenatal leave, huh. In the case of a pregnancy that is going well, it can indeed be an opportunity to take some time for yourself and try activities such as prenatal yoga or aquagym for pregnant women (we avoid MMA and bungee jumping)… In reality, between birth preparation appointments, blood tests, the anesthesiologist to consult, difficulties sleeping at night, not to mention a possible elder to manage, we quickly find ourselves more tired than Usain Bolt after the 19th Olympic title. And that’s not counting the women who quickly find themselves bedridden or experience pathological pregnancies and to whom we give this fabulous advice: “Profiiiiite! “. Good news, the defenestration is legal in this kind of case.
7. Be careful, it passes very quickly: yes and no
They don’t always dare to admit it, but some women, even once their baby is born, are royally pissed when the cherub digs all day and only wakes up to have his behind wiped… Otherwise there’s also has the profile of those who hit the jackpot: mothers of twins, jackpot! They would have dreamed of being bored during their maternity leave but strangely, alone with two babies who never sleep at the same time. The truth, and all mothers will confirm it, is that you only really feel on leave when maternity leave ends and you return to work. All that’s missing is a small parasol in the mug on your desk.
Frankly, if you still find a way to make meatballs when you meet a woman on maternity leave, you can’t say that you haven’t been warned…