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Maternity Leave Rights

Maternity Benefits in Canada

When a couple welcomes a baby into their lives, it is one of the most memorable and happiest days of their life. But a baby comes with a whole new set of responsibilities that new parents need to deal with. Getting parental leaves is important for both the mother and father to adjust to their new responsibilities and routines. Parental leave is defined as the taken time off work when you have or adopt a baby and the employer keeps the job open for you. Either you can your partner can take parental leave together or split it as per your convenience. Maternal and paternal benefits vary from state to state, so you need to consult a lawyer in Ottawa to understand the benefits by law in Ottawa.

An employee can apply for maternity or paternity benefits in the following conditions –

  • Pregnancy
  • Taking care of a new born baby
  • Adopting a child

You need to be qualified to be eligible for parental benefits. You are eligible for parental benefits if you are –

  • Employed in insurable employment
  • Meet the specific criteria for receiving maternity or parental benefits;
  • Facing more than 40 percent reduction in normal weekly earnings and
  • Have accumulated at least 600 hours of insurable employment or if you are a self-employed fisher, you have earned enough money during the qualifying period.

Government in Ottawa is making parental leave more flexible so that it becomes easier for mothers and fathers to benefit from them. You also need to show when you expect your baby to be born. If you are taking care of a new born, you need to show the date your baby was born. In case of adoption, you need to show when the adopted child was placed with you.

Parental benefits are paid by the government through Employment Insurance (EI). Hence, having an employment insurance is a must to avail these benefits. Under old plan, maternity leave was around 12 months. But a new plan has been introduced recently where parents can stretch their maternity and paternity leave in Ottawa up to 18 months. Also, mothers can avail the leave 18 weeks before the baby is born under the new plan. In the old plan, this duration was 8 weeks.

The maternity and paternity benefits come at a cost and these payments are taxable. So, parents should only stretch these leave as much as required. So, consult a tax advisor or an employment lawyer in Ottawa to understand the benefits of paternal leave and its impact on your earning.