A four-day week to reconcile work and parenthood

“It is time to be able to live out your family projects at the same time as your professional projects. » On the strength of this observation, Marie Guillemot, who chairs the French branch of KPMG, a global network of audits and consultants, has just set up the “parental four-day week”, an unprecedented measure in France.

Since 1er October, the 10,000 employees of the company can thus benefit from part-time work of 80% paid full-time in the event of the birth or adoption of a child, i.e. one day not worked per week, for a period six months.

Build employee loyalty

At a time when many companies are seeing their employees packing up in search of better working conditions, the Anglo-Dutch brand is banking on this new system to “retaining its employees”, whose average age is around 35 years. “We have a lot of young people in our workforce, and their expectations are more and more asserted: they want to live their parenthood without losing their job or their salary”, emphasizes the president.

Until then, the leader in French auditing applied the legal provisions in terms of parenthood. First, maternity leave – 16 weeks – and paternity – 25 days – periods compensated by Social Security. Then, the possibility of parental leave, unpaid, for young parents with at least one year of seniority, a measure that can be applied full or part time over one year, renewable under certain conditions.

At KPMG, the desire to move the lines was born after obtaining the label “company with a mission” last May, committing the brand to set itself social and ecological objectives in addition to profit-making. If his first project is aimed at parenthood, it’s because “this is the first subject raised by employees”, explains Thomas Heinrich, manager at the KPMG office in Strasbourg.

Along with twelve other employees, he is part of the company’s NextGen committee, commissioned by management to find ways to improve well-being at work. By carrying out surveys of all employees, the issue of reconciling work and family life quickly emerged.

Fight against gender inequalities

The beginning of parenthood is a happy moment, of course, but it is also a complicated period to manage.explains Thomas Heinrich. The parental week will allow parents to spend more time with their child(ren), create a bond and have an extra day to manage imponderables, such as appointments with the pediatrician… »

Addressed to both fathers and mothers, the measure also aims to work in favor of the balance between men and women, the latter often being pushed to sacrifice their profession in the name of their motherhood. In 2018, 84% of employees felt that their role as mother had a negative impact on their career(1).

Himself the father of a little boy of 19 months, Thomas Heinrich lived the experience: “The first six months, we try to be present. But the burden was above all carried on the shoulders of my wife…”, he admits.

The NextGen committee hopes that the new device will encourage fathers to invest more in family life as well as relieve their employees, by better preserving their professional prospects.

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