Negotiate your leaving your company while on parental leave.

Negotiate your leaving your company while on parental leave.

Negotiate your leaving your company while on parental leave.

Parental Leave is a legal provision for a parent to take a leave from his/her company to take care of a natural or adopted child. Up to 12 months, renewable twice. The only condition is to be a permanent employee for at least one year at the time of the request which, cannot be denied by the company.

If the leave is total (full time), the working contract is suspended and no salary is paid during the leave. If it is partial, the employee must work at least 16 hours / week.

The extent of the leave may vary in case of multiple births/adoptions, sickness, accident opr handicap of the child(s).

In the typical case the leave ends at the child’s 3rdanniversary.

Although no salary is paid during the leave the employee can make use of his/her “Compte Epargne Temps” (Time Savings Account) if this exists in the company, or receive Child Benefit if eligible.

At the end of the Parental Leave the person rejoins the company in the same position if available or equivalent. The seniority (years of service) is also suspended during the leave.

Options to leave the company during the Parental Leaveother than just quitting are:

  • The Mutually Agreed Contract Break-up (MACB)
  • Negotiate to be laid-off with a compensation severance package.


Let’s overlook the 1staspect in the context of this article.

The Mutually Agreed Contract Break-up (MACB)

Whether it is during your Parental Leave as well as during your working time in your company, negotiating an MACB is conditioned upon both parties whishing it. As such, the company does not have to do it and they will look for their interest first. Therefore, the whole strategy is to bring them to the conclusion that it their interest to engage into that process rather than wait for you to resign.

Being in a Parental Leave puts you into an unfavorable position at the start since your company, yet bound by law to grant you the Parental Leave and not paying you during that time, had nonetheless to reorganize during your absence which can lasts for up to 3 years (1 year renewable twice).

Also, as the MACB is a speedy procedure (4 weeks average), asking for it sends your company the signal that you want to leave it quickly. This may not be your best interest as they could believe that you have already found something else and that you in fact are trying to make them pay for the Parental Leave.

Therefore, it is wise to make them think that this is the best solution for them. Also, don’t forget that this procedure now cost them 20% as social taxes from the first Euro on.

So, there is no magical trick here or standard negotiation: depending upon your professional situation on your company, the importance of your position and the quality of your relationship with your employer, several aspects are to be considered:

  • If your company already replaced you during your absence, you can plea that you may not/will not retrieve your current post and that this creates some uncertainties particularly if no other job is available;
  • Therefore, your return may in fact cause more problem than opportunity since they would have to find you a new position not necessarily available upon by the time you come back;
  • It would not improve your company’s image and reputation if you were to be cornered into a job bearing no value and no perspectives to you. In case of a dispute, you coud plea that your company makes you “pay” the exercise of a acquired right.


In this specific case (MACB during a Parental Leave) there is no certainty. If this negotiation is to be a real one depends upon the quality of your relationship with your management and you should carefully weigh the pros and cons of requesting to leave your employer during a Parental Leave.

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