Looking after a sick child in France is simpler than in the UK if both parents work.
My friend Monica called this morning:
“Nicole, could you do me a favour please? Gwendal has a temperature and severe earache, I have an appointment with the doctor at 8.45. Could you let Marie (his teacher) know?”
“Of course, I will call round later to see how he is.”
This afternoon, I called in to see Monica (she is the only French woman I know who is truly passionate about Earl Grey tea… but that is another story!). Gwendal has been given antibiotics by the doctor and has to stay off school for 2 more days.
“But don’t you have to work tomorrow?” I ask. “Gwendal can stay with me, I’m desk bound tomorrow. It’s no trouble” I offer.
“Thank you, but I have a medical certificate from the doctor. Yann will take the day off to look after Gwendal”.
I look puzzled, so Monica explains.
In France, every mother and father has the right to take ten days off work, paid, to look after a sick child as long as they have a certificate from the doctor.
“Wow, that’s brilliant”.
That system certainly didn’t exist when I worked in the UK… but maybe things have changed…