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January 16, 2007


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Ooooohhh...that's when my conge starts too! Are we due on the same day (officially it's April 2nd for me, but after looking at me and my records he said it was more likely to be fin mars)? I don't think my baby is in position yet but still has time, the doc says. I've stopped wearing my rings to bed because of the swelling...ugh.


For babies one and two the time is the alloted time that you mentioned.

However... That being said ... in my day... like 6 years ago, it wasn't 8 weeks before, it was 6 weeks PLUS 2 weeks congé pathologique which most women take in stride. If it is getting near your date, just ask for the congé pathologique because your ob-gyn won't necessarily give it to you if you don't ask for it. I felt weird about this but it's the French way.

Also, you can extend your maternity time after the birth to 14 weeks (I think) if you breastfeed. Again, right before you are due to go back to work, you go to your doctor and just ask for the extra month off for more time to wean babs.

All these baby making expats are making me crazy and making me want another. Arrghh... Will I survive the year?


The majority of the women I work with who have had babies only got four - six weeks - and you have to use ALL your sick leave. Maternity leave in the US sucks. And I work for a large university with excellent benefits otherwise!


My mother was an accountant at a John Deere retailer when I was born, and she worked right up until she went into labor, stayed 2 nights in the hospital, had one week off after that, and then had to start right back up with working again. She was the only female employee there, and the men were really chauvanist and refused to give her any more time off!!

And I just heard on the news an hour ago about how France has the second-highest birth rate in the EU, after Ireland, mostly because they offer such good pre and post natal care and because of all the congé parental people can take.


I was still paying into the Caisse for prof. lib. when I got pregnant so I think that I officially had only 12 weeks in total of congé- 4 before and 8 after. But because I was having such bad Braxton-Hicks, I was on arrete maladie from the middle of the sixth month, which gave me something like 11 weeks paid before the delivery.
Of course, by the time I was officially done with maternity leave, the May holidays had rolled around and who goes back to work then? Then it was summer and I had holiday in the States. Couldn't go back to work then. Its funny how these things can drag out...


I only got paid for 4 days of my maturnity leave (just the few vacation days I had left for the year) but I took 10 weeks off. In the US when my daughter was born, the company had to hold you position (or one of equal rank and pay) for 12 weeks. I had planned to take the full 12 weeks but my daughter decided to wait, and wait, and wait, and her delivery date pushed too late into the year. I had an out of town conference I had to go to so I went back to work 2 weeks earlier than planned.

I've known people to go back to work after just a couple weeks. I can't imagine it.



I don't have any kids myself yet but we have started talking about it recently as we'll soon get married, bought a house etc. So having all the things in place the next step would be thinking about extending the family...

Anyway, I've been looking into the maternity leave and I realised that in Norway my friends have 10 months leave after the bebe is born with full pay and 12 on reduced pay.
I thought the 12 weeks in the french system sounded so little, would you be ready to leave your bebe in someone elses care by then? However I realise now reading the previous comments that it could be worse...


I was a high school teacher at the time I was pregnant with my first. (He just turned 8 which blows my mind) I think I was allowed 6 weeks? However, I used all of my paid days I had accumulated and took half of the school year off. I was done Mid December and didn't go back until after the summer. It was so hard. I only lasted that one year until I wanted to be home with him. And I never, in a million years thought I'd be a stay at home mama!!


The congé for breast feeding doesn't exist any more, sadly. I got the alloted 2+6 then 10, after 6 months of sick leave--basically was home for the entire pregnancy (DO NOT reccommend). By then my contract was up and home I stayed, except to go to school when Muppet was 9 months old.
Do make sure you check with the CAF to get all your benefits--PAJE, etc, especially if Baby'll be going into a creche or with an AM when you go back to work--they cover most of the price and all of the charges sociales.


Wow, maternity leave in the USA does suck! Sorry to hear it for you guys! Europe seems to compare! In Canada, well, in Quebec anyhow (I live in Montreal), I get 50 weeks (2 weeks shy of a year!) And you can start it anytime before your due date, or up til your due date, or date you actually give birth. I gave birth on Dec 28th, and I worked until Dec 22nd, going on maternity leave as of that Sunday, the 24th of December. So I'm on maternity leave until Dec 8th, 2007. Pretty sick deal, I think. But then again, also, we pay taxes for "unemployment" out of our pay checks... Maternity leave is on the same program pretty much as unemployment insurance.


You can also get extensions that are paid or unpaid depending on income, type of job, etc, for six months at a time, that can be renewed up to 4 times I believe. My SIL had a baby in November 2005, and she was off until the end of February 2006. She worked until July 2006, and is now taking a congé parental of one year so her husband can do his year's sabbatical in Montreal. I don't think she is paid much this time around, but I do know that her job will be there when she gets back.


I had no time off before my first son was born. But I planned on taking 6 mos off, then working part time (about 18hrs from home and 8hrs in the office a week). I was an attorney pre-children. I would have gotten 6 weeks maternity leave paid, but the rest of the time I took off would be unpaid.

It turned out that I never did go back to work after the six month mark. I did some part time work from home here and there, but was never salaried again. AFter my first 1st son turned a year, I ended up starting my own photography business, which I run on my own time and terms. :)

Parental leave polices suck SH!T in the US. All the $$ I paid in to Social Security and unemployement taxes while I was working? I'll probably never see it (cuz I doubt I'll need unemployment benefits any time soon, and by the time I get old enough for SS, all the $$ will have been spent for something stupid by the govt..


When I had my daughter I was working in a women's health clinic, so I was comfortable working until my due date. In fact I was due on a Monday, and worked until the Friday before (she actually made her debut that following Friday.) I was given 12 weeks off during which I got disability insurance (!) - but I did have to use all my sick leave before being able to get the state $.


Wow - your skin is amazing!

I obviously haven't had the baby yet but I am planning on taking 16 weeks off -- I'm to decide how to break it up (either before or after, and I'm hoping the majority of it will be after the birth). My boss also suggested I take another month off (not paid, I guess, but not sure if that's feasible) as he is just a kindred soul. I can do a good chunk of work from home, so I'm going to try to half go back for the last month. I love France for that.

Congrats on the 11 kilos. That's great!

Doug (from Jura, France)

Maternity leave is very good in France. Also, the tax breaks for each child are substantial. Furthermore, the monthly payments per child are relatively high (and go up with each child). This is because the goverment is worried about the rapid fall in non-immigrant working population, so they are giveing as many financial and non-financial incentives as they can.


In Australia (where I live) women are entitled to around 7-10 weeks of paid maternity leave. Some employers will double this amount by paying you at half pay. Australia has a provision where you are entitled to a total of 52 weeks maternity leave (includes the 7-10 paid) and there is an obligation for the employer to hold your current position open for you. There are variations from employer to employer however. It is sad though that some mum's can't afford to go unpaid for the majority of their maternity leave and are forced through circumstance to go back to work quite early.

WOW, I know a lot - and I don't even have kids! :)

But I think Sweden has the sweetest deal of 15 months at 75% pay


Wow, it's crazy how the maternity leave varies from place to place... I work at a large university in the US (not the same as Carrie!) and we get 6 weeks maternity leave, plus you are allowed to take an additional 6 weeks unpaid. After that, if you are really desperate for more time off, I suppose you can use your vacation days...


I have just passed on your blog,I wrote you this message, because I have myself a blog. The objective is that people send me their picture(s) with the clothes they intend to wear today or the next few days. And this to find out how is the fashion for people like you and me and by people from all over the world. I live in Singapore and here, fashion has a big importance, there’s a mix of cultures. It gives a colorful city… Anyway!
I think it’s great to share, to see how people match their clothes and accessories together. Anyway maybe I’m dreaming a little bit but who doesn’t intend anything, doesn’t get anything.

If you know anyone interested, it’d be great to talk about it, if yourself you find the idea interesting, of course!

My blog : http://your-fashion.skynetblogs.be

Thank you in advance

Have a nice day



It is great to hear how it works in other countries! I might upset one or two by telling you how sweet it indeed is in Sweden. :)

Me and my partner get 390 days to share betwen us with 80% pay, plus 90 days with almost no pay. I can start maternity leave 60 days before delivery if I wish, or choose to work less hours. 60 days are reserved for one parent, commonly called "daddy days".

In my case this means I will stay home with Ivar for at least a year (since I worked until the day he was born...). Meanwhile my employer will get someone to substitute me while I am gone, but I still have the right to come back to "my" job.

Needless to say but I guess this explains the high rate or breastfed babies in Sweden. I breastfeeded my daughter fully for 6 months, partially for 14 months, and plan to do the same with my son.


I just started my maternity leave this week at the normal 6 weeks prenatal time. I had the numb, tingly, painful (although curiously, not swollen) hands last time and by the last month I couldn't even hold a knife or a pen. While driving I had to keep my hands flat and just hope I didn't need to grip the steering wheel. It didn't go away until several months after the birth. This time around it seems that I'm not experiencing as much of that, but we'll see how it goes in the next month.

Last time I took the official 10 weeks post-natal leave and I was able to get a congé maladie for 4 more weeks. Your doctor may or may not do this for you. I put my baby in a crèche at 4 months and all went well. I was able to pump and therefore exclusively breastfeed for 13 months. Not many crèches (and even nounous for that matter) will accept expressed milk. When I went back to work, I went 4/5 and it worked out really well. I really needed that extra day to get household stuff done.

This time I'm taking the normal 10 weeks and then 3 months of congé parental so that I'll go back to work in September. The congé parental isn't paid, but the CAF does pay around 500 euros a month, so that will help. I will again be going back to work 4/5. By the way, the CAF pays you something like 300 euros a month when go you work 4/5, you just have to send in a form (something about libre choix).

You should sign up for bébés nageurs classes in September. We did that and it's really wonderful for the babies. The water is really warm and they get really comfortable with being in the water. It costs 160 euros a year for a 45 min/week session all year long except for July and August.


yes, it always makes me mad just thinking about it. you aren't allowed any time off BEFORE the duedate unless the doctor asks for it due to health risks, etc. i think i got 4 or 6 weeks off, then it all came out of my vacation and sick time. it forces new moms to return to work with NO vacation or sick time, which is the worst possible scenario when you have a near newborn. awful. most moms i know take 3 - 6 months off. (unpaid after 4 to 6 weeks) my job was one of the few which let me take a year off, unpaid, and still held my position for me. i understand canada makes that a requirement for employees.


I have not had any babies:) but I'm glad you will get a lot of time off.


I am currently on my year long maternity leave here in Montreal, Canada. Since a few years ago, the standard 6 month maternity leave was extended to 1 year with partial pay, which some companies top off themselves. Unfortunately I was not fortunate enough to be at one of those companies, but it's still great to be able to stay with your baby for the full year. I could not imagine going back any sooner. However, one drawback is that you become so attached to staying with baby that going back to work becomes that much more difficult. I am 8 months into my leave and have absolutely no desire to go back anymore. A few months ago I would have easily gone back I think. But as much as I would like my own life back, going back to work is now the last thing on my mind. But yes, I do realize how fortunate we are here to have this opportunity that many others don't.

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