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More Flexibility for Parents

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Each year, hundreds of thousands of Canadian families welcome new children into their lives – and they must balance their work and care responsibilities during this important time.

To provide more flexible Employment Insurance (EI) maternity and parental benefits, as well as unpaid job-protected leaves under the Canada Labour Code for workers in federally regulated enterprises, the Government of Canada is considering new options for eligible Canadians who are off work to care for a newborn or a newly adopted child, in addition to the current option of a combined 12 months of maternity and parental benefits and unpaid leave:

  1. Allowing combined maternity and parental benefits and unpaid leaves to be extended to up to 18 months at a lower EI benefit rate (more time off work, with less money per month)

  2. Allowing the current amount of parental benefits and unpaid leave to be taken in smaller blocks of time over a period of up to 18 months rather than over 12 months.

Each option would result in the same total amount of EI benefits paid, and each option involves considerations for both employees and their families and their employers. In each of the options, the duration of the EI maternity benefit and leave would not be changed.

As we explore ways to do this, we would like your input so that we can learn what is most important to you. Join the conversation – tell us your stories and what you think.

We invite you to read the discussion paper before submitting your views.

Please note: The Quebec Parental Insurance Plan (QPIP) offers maternity and parental benefits as well as paternity benefits to residents of the province of Quebec. Accordingly, Quebec residents are not eligible for EI maternity or parental benefits. However, if you are a resident of Quebec, we welcome your views and feedback.

Each year, hundreds of thousands of Canadian families welcome new children into their lives – and they must balance their work and care responsibilities during this important time.

To provide more flexible Employment Insurance (EI) maternity and parental benefits, as well as unpaid job-protected leaves under the Canada Labour Code for workers in federally regulated enterprises, the Government of Canada is considering new options for eligible Canadians who are off work to care for a newborn or a newly adopted child, in addition to the current option of a combined 12 months of maternity and parental benefits and unpaid leave:

  1. Allowing combined maternity and parental benefits and unpaid leaves to be extended to up to 18 months at a lower EI benefit rate (more time off work, with less money per month)

  2. Allowing the current amount of parental benefits and unpaid leave to be taken in smaller blocks of time over a period of up to 18 months rather than over 12 months.

Each option would result in the same total amount of EI benefits paid, and each option involves considerations for both employees and their families and their employers. In each of the options, the duration of the EI maternity benefit and leave would not be changed.

As we explore ways to do this, we would like your input so that we can learn what is most important to you. Join the conversation – tell us your stories and what you think.

We invite you to read the discussion paper before submitting your views.

Please note: The Quebec Parental Insurance Plan (QPIP) offers maternity and parental benefits as well as paternity benefits to residents of the province of Quebec. Accordingly, Quebec residents are not eligible for EI maternity or parental benefits. However, if you are a resident of Quebec, we welcome your views and feedback.
CLOSED: This discussion has concluded.
Discussions: All (4) Open (0)
  • Potential changes

    over 3 years ago
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    CLOSED: This discussion has concluded.

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    Please share your views and experience:

    What are some advantages/disadvantages to a longer combined EI maternity/parental benefits and leave period (i.e., of up to 18 months, rather than 12 months)?

    What are some advantages/disadvantages to taking EI parental benefits and leave periods in smaller blocks of time, over a longer period of up to 18 months (rather than over 12 months)? (For example, at the time of application, a parent indicates their plans to take a certain amount of leave, return to work temporarily, and then resume their parental leave.)


    Please share your views and experience:

    What are some advantages/disadvantages to a longer combined EI maternity/parental benefits and leave period (i.e., of up to 18 months, rather than 12 months)?

    What are some advantages/disadvantages to taking EI parental benefits and leave periods in smaller blocks of time, over a longer period of up to 18 months (rather than over 12 months)? (For example, at the time of application, a parent indicates their plans to take a certain amount of leave, return to work temporarily, and then resume their parental leave.)


    Replies Closed
  • Views and experiences with Canada’s EI maternity/parental benefits and/or leave under the Canada Labour Code

    over 3 years ago
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    What influenced you in deciding how much time to take off work to care for a child?

    If you took more than a year away from work to care for a child, what was your experience?

    Tell us your story.

    What influenced you in deciding how much time to take off work to care for a child?

    If you took more than a year away from work to care for a child, what was your experience?

    Tell us your story.

    Replies Closed
  • Employers’ views

    over 3 years ago
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    As an employer, if EI benefits and/or unpaid job-protected leaves were made more flexible and available over a longer period of time, how would you address this and what impact would this have on your business?

    As an employer, if EI benefits and/or unpaid job-protected leaves were made more flexible and available over a longer period of time, how would you address this and what impact would this have on your business?

    Replies Closed
  • Responding to workplace health and safety risks for pregnant workers

    over 3 years ago
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    Please share your views and experiences:

    Sometimes, expecting mothers work jobs that pose risks to their health or safety during their pregnancy; and, workplace accommodation (modifications to work conditions or tasks, or job reassignment) is not feasible. As a result, they must temporarily leave work.

    In your opinion, should pregnant workers have the option to access EI maternity benefits earlier than currently allowed (i.e. more than two months prior to their expected due date) in these circumstances?

    How much earlier do you think EI maternity benefits and leave should be available for pregnant workers, keeping in mind that up to 15 weeks of EI maternity benefits are provided? Please explain.

    Please share your views and experiences:

    Sometimes, expecting mothers work jobs that pose risks to their health or safety during their pregnancy; and, workplace accommodation (modifications to work conditions or tasks, or job reassignment) is not feasible. As a result, they must temporarily leave work.

    In your opinion, should pregnant workers have the option to access EI maternity benefits earlier than currently allowed (i.e. more than two months prior to their expected due date) in these circumstances?

    How much earlier do you think EI maternity benefits and leave should be available for pregnant workers, keeping in mind that up to 15 weeks of EI maternity benefits are provided? Please explain.

    Replies Closed