Can you clarify the rules in Canada around taking parental leave after pregnancy leave? Can you clarify the rules in Canada around taking parental leave after pregnancy leave?

Can you clarify the rules in Canada around taking parental leave after pregnancy leave?
14 Nov 2017

Q. One of our employees went on maternity leave and, after returning to work, requested parental leave. My understanding is that parental leave is supposed to start as soon as pregnancy leave finishes. What should we do?

There is one exception to the rule above - this is when a baby has not come into its mother’s care before her pregnancy leave ends. It could be due to the baby being hospitalised for the duration of her pregnancy leave and still being in the hospital’s care when this leave ends, for example.

But if the baby has been in its mother’s care before being hospitalised, she would not qualify for parental leave. The rules clearly state that entitlement is triggered when the baby came into its mother’s care for the first time.

As long as this is the case and the mother qualifies (that is, she works for an employer covered by the Employment Standards Act (ESA) and has done so for a minimum of 13 weeks before commencing parental leave), she can choose to either commence parental leave as soon as her pregnancy leave ends, or start the unpaid parental leave later.

If she chooses to begin her leave later, she must do so within 52 weeks of the birth of her baby, or from the date that the baby first came into her care. It is not necessary to take all of her leave within the 52 weeks, but it must commence within that timeframe.

Rights and responsibilities

Moreover, once the mother begins her parental leave, she must take it all at once - she cannot split it into blocks. She may take either the full 35 weeks (note that as she took pregnancy leave, she is only entitled to take 35 weeks rather than the usual 37) or a shorter period if desired.

But she needs to be aware that, under the ESA 2000, returning to work will effectively end her parental leave period, whether she works part- or full-time. It is also worth noting that the mother could return to work and earn a certain limited amount of pay before any employment insurance benefits are reduced. Whatever the situation though, she must give you at least two weeks written notice of her intention to take parental leave.

Also bear in mind that certain employment rights are protected during parental leave. These include the right to be reinstated, be free from penalties and to participate in certain benefit schemes such as pension, life insurance, death, health and dental plans.

 



The Global Payroll Association’s director of education and research, Jeanette Hibbert, explores the regulations around parental leave for mothers.

Q. One of our employees went on maternity leave and, after returning to work, requested parental leave. My understanding is that parental leave is supposed to start as soon as pregnancy leave finishes. What should we do?

There is one exception to the rule above - this is when a baby has not come into its mother’s care before her pregnancy leave ends. It could be due to the baby being hospitalised for the duration of her pregnancy leave and still being in the hospital’s care when this leave ends, for example.

But if the baby has been in its mother’s care before being hospitalised, she would not qualify for parental leave. The rules clearly state that entitlement is triggered when the baby came into its mother’s care for the first time.

As long as this is the case and the mother qualifies (that is, she works for an employer covered by the Employment Standards Act (ESA) and has done so for a minimum of 13 weeks before commencing parental leave), she can choose to either commence parental leave as soon as her pregnancy leave ends, or start the unpaid parental leave later.

If she chooses to begin her leave later, she must do so within 52 weeks of the birth of her baby, or from the date that the baby first came into her care. It is not necessary to take all of her leave within the 52 weeks, but it must commence within that timeframe.

Rights and responsibilities

Moreover, once the mother begins her parental leave, she must take it all at once - she cannot split it into blocks. She may take either the full 35 weeks (note that as she took pregnancy leave, she is only entitled to take 35 weeks rather than the usual 37) or a shorter period if desired.

But she needs to be aware that, under the ESA 2000, returning to work will effectively end her parental leave period, whether she works part- or full-time. It is also worth noting that the mother could return to work and earn a certain limited amount of pay before any employment insurance benefits are reduced. Whatever the situation though, she must give you at least two weeks written notice of her intention to take parental leave.

Also bear in mind that certain employment rights are protected during parental leave. These include the right to be reinstated, be free from penalties and to participate in certain benefit schemes such as pension, life insurance, death, health and dental plans.

 



The Global Payroll Association’s director of education and research, Jeanette Hibbert, explores the regulations around parental leave for mothers.

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