Maternity and Paternity Leave in Canada - AAAMEDSU

Maternity and Paternity Leave in Canada

2 min

Maternity leave refers to a period of time in which a mother temporarily stops working following the birth or adoption of a baby. Paternity leave in Canada is one of the longest and most generous leave programs in the developed world. This is a huge benefit for Canadian parents, as it allows them to take the time they need to bond with their new child without having to worry about financial instability. It also allows fathers to be more involved in their child’s life from the very beginning, which research has shown to have a positive impact on the child’s development. 

Canadian maternity leave laws

Maternity leave in Canada is available for a maximum of 15 weeks. This benefit is only offered to biological (and surrogate) mothers. A further 35 weeks of parental benefits are available to biological, adoptive, or legally recognized parents. These can be shared between two parents. The amount you will receive depends on the details of your application. For most people, you will receive at least 55% of your average insurable weekly earnings. Your benefit could be as high as 80% of your usual income. The maximum annual benefit in 2016 was $50,800.

Am I eligible for paid maternity leave?

In Canada, you are eligible for paid maternity leave if you meet the following criteria:

  1. You are employed in insurable employment. This means that you have had employment insurance (EI) premiums deducted from your wage by your employer. These premium rates change from year to year.
  2. You meet the specific criteria for EI maternity benefits. These are payable only to the biological mother who is unable to work because she is pregnant or has recently given birth.
  3. Your normal weekly earnings are reduced by more than 40%. When your normal weekly earnings are reduced by 40% or more because of your pregnancy or need to care for your newborn.
  4. You have worked at least 600 hours of insurable employment. This means you have worked 600 hours in the 52-week period prior to the start of your EI period.
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A woman with an uncomplicated pregnancy qualifies for maternity leave at the onset of labour. Women who experience complications of pregnancy or other illness-related problems are eligible for either health or sickness benefits, rather than maternity leave.

Canadian paternity leave laws

The maternity leave ends when the child is 10 weeks old and the parental leave ends when the child is 45 weeks old. The other parent takes 34 weeks of parental leave starting the day the child is born and ending when the child is 34 weeks old. The total of both parents’ parental leave is 69 weeks.

Am i eligible for paid paternity leave in canada

ARE YOU ELIGIBLE? All new Dads are eligible for Paternity Leave, as long as you have at least 600 hours of work towards Employment Insurance (EI) within the past 52 weeks.

Parental Leave in the U.S. vs. Canada: An Overview

The United States is part of a very exclusive group, but not for the reasons you might suspect. Among 40+ countries, including Switzerland, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, Canada, and Japan, it’s the only one that offers no paid maternity or paternity leave to expecting parents.

This is despite the fact that seven in 10 Americans support the idea of paid maternity and paternity leave.  U.S. employers are also recognizing the need for this type of employee benefit. According to the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), 55% of employers now offer paid maternity leave while 45% offer paid paternity leave.

Compared to Canada’s, the U.S. parental leave policy at the federal level is notably lacking. The Canadian system provides at least a partial ongoing income for up to a year to give families time to adjust to the new addition, as well as a guarantee of reemployment after a lengthy leave.

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Parental Leave in Canada

The Canadian government mandates both leave and a benefits component, the latter of which is administered by provincial employment insurance plans. Under the terms of the federal leave program, parents can take advantage of standard or extended benefits. The one you choose can determine the number of weeks you’re eligible to receive benefits and how much you receive.

How do I apply for maternity and parental leave?

To apply, submit an application online application. Go to http://www.esdc.gc.ca/en/reports/ei/process.page for more details.

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