Commitments for parenthood only commit those who believe in them

Children invite themselves to a zoom meeting. With telework, it has become impossible to forget that many employees, women and men, are also parents. Even if paternity leave was extended on 1er July 2021, the consideration of parenthood by societies still has progress to make. However, some companies are trying to put in place concrete measures to support it in its various stages and its diversity. In December 2021, four thirty-year-old employees and young mothers developed the Parental Challenge. This charter of commitments has already been initialed by more than 80 companies, mainly start-ups. The latest, the consulting firm PwC, which signed the text in June 2022. If there is a usual measure for such texts – “set up meeting times that do not exclude any employee” –, others are more precise and targeted: “grant five fully paid “sick children” days”, “authorize and remunerate the absences of employees applying for adoption during mandatory appointments that take place on working hours”, or “offer to all our parent employees whose positions allow it 100% teleworking in the key moments preceding and following parenthood”.

Texts devoid of binding provisions

One is particularly original: “Proposing paid three-day bereavement leave in the event of a miscarriage, for biological mothers as well as for second parents”. The initiators of this charter point out that “in one out of four cases, pregnancy ends during the first trimester”. At that time, it is often not announced out of caution, but also out of fear of discrimination. However, a miscarriage can not only be accompanied by significant physical pain, but also has a strong psychological impact.

Even if it is intended to be more concrete and adapted to changes in parenthood, the Parental Challenge is still limited to a declaration of intent. And this is not the first on the subject. Indeed, a “Corporate Parenthood Charter” had already been enacted in 2008 and signed by 700 companies, including behemoths such as Carrefour, the Casino group, Bouygues Immobilier. In 2021, an updated version, still vague, was published. In the absence of constraints for businesses, the scope of this text has remained very limited. For example, one of the first companies to sign the 2008 charter, BNP Paribas, was ordered two years later to pay 350,000 euros in damages to an employee. Returning from a parental leave of several years, she had been assigned to a less rewarding and less well paid position.


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