Changes to Maternity & Parental Leave in Canada

The Federal Government is making changes to the rules governing maternity and parental leave in Canada. The updated rules will come into effect on December 3rd, 2017 and will only apply to parents eligible for these benefits after this date.

Here is what you need to know:

  • Women will be able to begin their maternity benefit claim 12 weeks prior to their due date. This has increased from the current 8 weeks.
  • New parents will be able to choose the option to extend parental leave from the current 12 months to 18 months of combined maternity and parental leave. If the 12 month option is chosen, the leave will basically remain as it is today with new parents eligible for both maternity and/or parental leaves. For both leaves, Employment Insurance (EI) provides the employee with 55% of their average weekly earnings, up to a maximum of $543 per week.
  • If the employee opts to take the 18 month leave, EI benefits will be 55% of average earnings up to the $543 maximum for maternity leave. However, once parental leave begins, EI benefits will drop to 33% of average weekly earnings to a maximum of $326 per week.
  • To qualify, you must have worked at least 600 insurable hours within the last 12 months.
  • This change does not apply to Quebec residents as Quebec has a Provincial maternity and parental benefits system in place.

Please contact your PEO Canada Benefits Administrator for more information on how this change to maternity and parental leave benefits may affect you.

Cheryl Dempsey / Benefits Administrator / PEO Canada


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