France Health
A child is prepared for a heart surgery by medical staff from France's La chain de l' espoir. Reuters

France's parliament has passed a law which allows workers to donate their paid leave to colleagues with seriously ill children.

The law came into being after the case of a French man whose colleagues donated 170 days paid leave while his son battled with cancer.

The bill was presented by the right-wing MP Paul Salen, being passed in the National Assembly in 2012 before now being passed in the French Senate.

Workers will now be allowed to anonymously give days off to colleagues who need to look after their ill child.

Salen's inspiration for the bill came after the case of Christophe Germain, a worker in his constituency, who was given days off by colleagues to look after his 11-year-old son Mathys during his battle with cancer with the approval of his bosses. Mathys died in 2011.

Germain attended the Senate hearing where the right to give leave to colleagues was stretched to the public sector having already been present in some private companies.

In opposition, some Communists voted against the bill on the basis that it relieved employers of their responsibilities in the situation where an employee has a seriously ill child.

"Your bill, portrayed as being generous, will completely free employers from their responsibilities and create intolerable situations of injustice between those who can collect days off and those who can't," said left-wing MP Dominique Watrin.

Labour Minister François Rebsamen said he had "strong reservations" about the measure, adding that "rest days are part of the need for the protection of employees' health".

French workers have the most paid leave in the world with a minimum of five weeks legally required every year.