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Give parents paid time off when a child is ill, says League of Families

20:37 14/10/2021

The League of Families is advocating for the establishment of paid leave - up to 10 days per year - for employees to care for a sick child.

While the federal government announced this week that it was ending the obligation to present a medical certificate for short-term absences (from one to three days), the League of Families – which represents parents and their children – says parents whose child is ill should also benefit from paid time off work.

At present, parents who are unable to have their sick child looked after by a relative find themselves obliged to take urgent leave. The latter is limited to 10 days per year, unpaid and must be justified to the employer. While some employers offer paid leave, this option remains rather rare as, according to the League of Families, only 27% of parents can benefit from it.

In order to remedy this situation, the League is proposing the establishment of 10 paid "sick child leave" days per year, including three without justification to allow parents to keep their child at home if they notice that the child does not feel well in the morning.

The other days could be validated with a medical certificate or a document from the nursery or school attesting to the sending of the child home for health reasons.

Christophe Cocu, general manager of the League of Families, said: "Forcing parents to go to the pediatrician or general practitioner as soon as a child has a runny nose or is teething seems too drastic and costly for parents and unnecessary for the healthcare budget.” 

Written by Richard Harris