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An Overview of Maternity and Parental Leave in BC

Employment Law | July 19, 2022 | Written by Rajvir Nagra

If you are pregnant or considering having a child, it is important to understand the types of leave you are entitled to. Understanding your options, the maximum duration, and the amount you can expect to be paid for each type of leave will ensure that you know what you are entitled to and help you determine which option is best for you. As a team of experienced employment lawyers, Linley Welwood knows how important it is for employees and employers to understand the details of maternity and parental leave. That is why we have provided an overview of maternity and parental leave in BC to give both parties the information they need.

Learn about the different types of job-protected leaves in BC.

What is Maternity Leave?

Also known as pregnancy leave, maternity leave is a type of leave that is available for pregnant workers. Under the ESA (Employment Standards Act), pregnant employees are entitled to take 17 weeks of leave to have their baby. The employee may begin their maternity leave up to 13 weeks before the expected date of birth – leaving 4 weeks of leave after the baby is born. While some employers may offer their employees paid maternity leave under the terms of their employment contract, maternity leave is generally without pay in BC.

That is why there are various employment insurance benefits available to pregnant workers that can be utilized during the time that they are away from work. These are known as Employment Insurance (EI) benefits. While on maternity leave, employees can collect up to 55% of their typical earnings for up to 15 weeks through EI. There is typically a weekly maximum cap of $638 to ensure that the benefits are spread across the period the employee is away from work.

What is Parental Leave?

Once the baby is born or a child has been adopted, the Employment Standards Act allows parents to take additional leave known as parental leave. Unlike maternity leave, parental leave is available for both parents and can be split in any manner they wish. For example, if taking 40 weeks of leave, one parent can take 30 weeks while the other can take 10. Parental Leave is available in 2 different options: standard parental benefits and extended parental benefits.

Standard Parental Benefits

Up to 40 weeks can be shared between parents, but one parent cannot receive more than 35 weeks of standard benefits. Under this type of leave, parents receive 55% of their standard pay per week, up to a maximum of $638.

Extended Parental Benefits

Up to 69 weeks can be shared between parents, but one parent cannot receive more than 61 weeks of standard benefits. Under this type of leave, parents receive 33% of their standard pay per week, up to a maximum of $383.

To learn more about maternity leave or other types of job-protected leaves, get in touch with the team at Linley Welwood. We can be reached through our online contact form and will be happy to answer any questions you may have regarding our services.


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