Tens of thousands of people in France are demanding longer paternity leave

  • The petition target is 75,000 signatures
  • It claims that fathers should not return to work after 11 days leave
  • Economist Thomas Piketty is among the signatures
Father and baby paternity
Sally Anscombe | Getty Images

More than 58,000 people in France have signed a petition demanding men receive more paternity leave following the birth of a child.

The petition, addressed to French President Emmanuel Macron and three of his ministers, has asked that the current 11 days leave awarded to new fathers should be extended to four weeks and made obligatory.

According to The Guardian newspaper, more than 40 prominent figures in France, including the economist Thomas Piketty, have signed the petition.

The petition, hosted by change.org, claims that the departure of one parent from the home after less than 2 weeks from the birth is often traumatic for parents.

It adds that a mother left alone after just 11 days can suffer increased stress and a lack of sleep. For the father, the petition claims the habit of looking after a new-born baby cannot be not fully learned.

French fathers are currently allowed 11 days paid leave or a total of 18 days for a multiple birth.

According to the Connexion website, French mothers can take maternity leave of six weeks before a birth and 10 weeks after, a total of 16 weeks. This rises to 26 weeks if they have two or more children already. This maternity leave is obligatory, though the number can be negotiated.

The United States is unusual in that it does not enforce any paid leave for new parents, according to 2016 data compiled by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

In the same study, the OECD identified Estonia as the most generous of 41 developed countries, offering more than a year and a half of paid leave to new parents.