Maternity and parental leave

From Public Services and Procurement Canada

If you are a public servant who is expecting or preparing to take leave to care for a newborn or adopted child, find out what to do to ensure you get the appropriate time and benefits.

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About maternity and parental leave

Maternity leave is unpaid leave that allows employees time for pregnancy, childbirth, post-childbirth recuperation, adoption and childcare.

Parental leave without pay is unpaid leave that allows an employee time to care for their newly born or adopted child.

Your manager must grant maternity and parental leave to you upon request.

Maximum duration of maternity and parental leave

Maternity leave: You may begin your maternity leave without pay before, on the day, or after your pregnancy ends. Your leave without pay must end no later than 18 weeks after your pregnancy ends.

Parental leave following maternity leave: You are entitled to 52 weeks of combined maternity and parental leave following the date of your child’s birth.

Parental leave not following maternity leave: You may take up to 37 weeks of leave without pay in the 52-week period following the date of your child’s birth. At the discretion of your employer, you may take this leave in 2 periods.

Care of family (or equivalent): You may take leave without pay for care of family if you wish to extend your leave beyond the 52 week period after the date of birth of the child. Please refer to your collective agreement for details.

Exceptions: If your newborn needs to be hospitalized, your maternity or parental leave may be extended if certain conditions are met. Check your collective agreement specific to your classification group.

Parental leave for adoption: You may take up to 37 weeks of leave without pay in the 52-week period beginning on the day a child you are in the process of adopting comes into your care. At the discretion of your employer, you may take this leave in 2 periods. In addition, a provincially legal adoption process must be underway before you request this leave.

Maximum duration of maternity and parental leave More information

  • Collective agreements for the public service: (Note: not all collective agreements are listed here) Check your collective agreement, terms and conditions of employment and other legally binding rules specific to your classification group

Combining maternity leave with other forms of leave

Most collective agreements and terms and conditions of employment provide for the use of sick, annual or compensatory leave for a period preceding or following the end of a pregnancy.

Combining maternity leave with other forms of leave More information

  • Collective agreements for the public service: (Note: not all collective agreements are listed here) Check your collective agreement, terms and conditions of employment and other legally binding rules specific to your classification group

About the maternity and parental allowance

Refer to your collective agreement to confirm eligibility criteria for the maternity or parental allowance. Generally, to be eligible for the maternity or parental allowance, you must:

About the maternity and parental allowance More information

Allowances and rates of pay

In general, the maternity or parental allowance consists of:

  • 93% of your weekly rate of pay for the waiting period under the Supplemental Unemployment Benefit Plan (that is, 1 week), minus any earnings made during this period
  • the difference between 93% of your weekly rate of pay and the maternity or parental benefit that you are eligible for under the EI or the Quebec Parental Insurance Plan (QPIP), minus any earnings made during this period

If you are considering the extended option for EI parental benefits, please note that the maximum combined maternity and parental allowances payable will remain at 52 weeks, which includes 35 weeks of parental allowance.

More information

Acting

If you have been acting for more than 4 months, including the day immediately preceding the maternity or parental leave, your allowance will generally be based on your acting rate of pay.

Pay increments or revisions

Your maternity or parental allowance will be adjusted to reflect changes to your salary following a pay increment or revision.

Allowances and rates of pay More information

  • Collective agreements for the public service: (Note: not all collective agreements are listed here) Check your collective agreement, terms and conditions of employment and other legally binding rules specific to your classification group

Disability and maternity and parental leave and allowances

Most collective agreements and terms and conditions of employment contain special provisions for totally disabled employees requesting a maternity or parental allowance.

Disability and maternity and parental leave and allowances More information

  • Collective agreements for the public service: (Note: not all collective agreements are listed here) Check your collective agreement, terms and conditions of employment and other legally binding rules specific to your classification group

Medical appointment leave for pregnant employees

Generally, you are allowed up to 3.75 hours of leave with pay to attend routine medical appointments related to your pregnancy. If you need to book a series of appointments for the treatment of a particular condition relating to the pregnancy, you should use sick leave to account for your time off work.

Medical appointment leave for pregnant employees More information

In this section, learn what you need to do to ensure you get the appropriate leave and allowances.

Notify your manager about your planned leave as soon as possible or at least 6 weeks before your expected leave date. Your manager must approve your request for leave. Once this is done, work with your manager and human resources personnel, including your department’s trusted source, to ensure the Pay Centre receives the necessary documentation and information before your leave begins.

Assessing the impact of maternity or parental leave on your pay, insurances and benefits

You will receive a benefit letter outlining what happens to your pay, insurance and benefits as a result of your leave without pay. You may also contact the Pay Centre for an assessment of the impact your leave may have on these benefits.

Obtaining a Record of Employment

You need a Record of Employment (ROE) to claim benefits under EI or the Quebec Parental Insurance Plan. A ROE establishes your eligibility and level of benefits. You can, however, apply for benefits even if your ROE has not yet been issued.

A web-based record of employment will be issued on your behalf within 5 calendar days of the end of the pay period during which the earnings are interrupted and retained by Economic and Social Development Canada.

Obtaining a Record of Employment More information

Recording your leave

Before you begin your leave, ensure the information in your departmental leave system is accurate and up to date. It is your responsibility to request and receive authorization for any absences.

In addition, complete a leave application and absence report (GC-178) and submit it to your manager before you begin your leave. Your manager will be responsible for approving your leave request and having it submitted through your trusted source, under cover of a pay action request form, to the Pay Centre. Upon receipt, a compensation advisor will record your maternity or parental leave without pay in the system

Recording your leave More information

  • Leave application and absence report (Form GC-178) (accessible in PDF format and only on the Government of Canada network)

Completing your return-to-work agreement

You must complete, sign and return a return-to-work agreement under cover of a pay action request form. Without this agreement in place, the Pay Centre will be unable to issue any maternity or parental allowance.

If you do not fulfill your return-to-work agreement, you will have to repay part, or all of the allowance, as applicable. Check your collective agreement or terms and conditions of employment for more information.

Term employees

Before receiving the maternity or parental allowance, make sure your term of employment extends long enough for you to fulfill your return-to-work agreement. You may retroactively receive the maternity or parental allowance if applicable.

If you cannot fulfill your return-to-work agreement because your term of employment expires before the date in which the agreement is fulfilled, you will have to repay part or all of the allowance.

Completing your return-to-work agreement More information

  • Collective agreements for the public service: (Note: not all collective agreements are listed here) Check your collective agreement, terms and conditions of employment and other legally binding rules specific to your classification group

Obtaining the maternity or parental allowance

To initiate payment of the maternity or parental allowance, submit the following documents to the Pay Centre:

  • an original EI payment stub or letter confirming your eligibility for EI, if applicable
  • an original Quebec Parental Insurance Plan (QPIP) payment stub or letter from QPIP confirming your eligibility, if applicable
  • a pay action request form (PAR)

Save all your subsequent EI/QPIP payment stubs. You must submit all of your payment stubs to the Pay Centre by the end of your maternity/parental leave, under cover of a PAR form. We need these stubs so that we can reconcile your allowance payments.

If you do not submit the payment stubs or EI/QPIP letter confirming your eligibility, we will treat the allowances you received as an overpayment (Debt to the Crown.)

Getting an advance on the maternity or parental allowance

Send your return-to-work agreement and leave application and absence report to the Pay Centre. We will estimate and advance your maternity or parental allowance while you are waiting for EI or QPIP to confirm your eligibility or issue you a first payment.

Reconciling an advance

If you received an advance on your maternity or parental allowance, the Pay Centre will reconcile this advance against what your original payments should have been.

This reconciliation will occur once you provide proof of receipt of EI or QPIP benefits. Should there be an underpayment or overpayment, the Pay Centre will adjust your next payment accordingly. If an overpayment occurs and there are not enough maternity or parental allowances left to adjust before you return to work, we will give you repayment options for this overpayment.

Notifying your pay and benefits providers

You will need to submit information and certain documents (example: a copy of your child’s birth certificate) to the Pay Centre and your insurers. These documents ensure an accurate calculation of your pay, benefits and insurance coverage for you and members of your family. For more information, refer to Becoming a parent.

Important forms

Work with your manager to ensure you complete the following form. Your trusted source must submit it to the Pay Centre before you begin your maternity or parental leave:

  • Leave application and absence report (Form GC-178) (accessible in PDF format and only on the Government of Canada network)

A compensation advisor will provide you with the following forms to complete and return to the Pay Centre:

  • Public Service Health Care Plan: Leave without pay option form (if applicable)
  • Return to work agreement
  • Employee statement for Quebec Parental Insurance Plan (for all residents of Quebec)

Important: Send these forms under cover of a pay action request form.

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