There have been some important changes to the Employment Standards Act (Province of Ontario statute) and the Employment Insurance regulations (Federal level) that provide CUPE 3903 members with more time and options for pregnancy and parental leaves.
The Ontario government website has a helpful and detailed overview on Pregnancy and Parental Leaves. Service Canada also has a detailed FAQ on EI and Parental Leave. Here is a quick summary though of the benefits (some new, some ongoing), much of it copied from both of the preceding links.
- Pregnancy leave is still 17 weeks unpaid (see your collective agreement though as you have paid leave entitlements there)
- Birth mothers who take pregnancy leave are entitled to up to 61 weeks’ leave. Birth mothers who do not take pregnancy leave and all other new parents are entitled to up to 63 weeks’ parental leave.
- Parental leave is not part of pregnancy leave and so a birth mother may take both pregnancy and parental leave.
- In addition, the right to a parental leave is independent of the right to pregnancy leave. For example, a birth father could be on parental leave at the same time the birth mother is on either her pregnancy leave or parental leave
- If you have reached 600 hours of EI insurable work hours in the 12 month period before your leave, you can get EI benefits. (see you collective agreement for the supplemental EI benefits program, which is your York paid leave plus your EI leave)
- EI parental benefits are offered to parents who are caring for a newborn or newly adopted child or children.There are two options available for receiving parental benefits: standard or extended:
- Standard parental benefits can be paid for a maximum of 35 weeks and must be claimed within a 52-week period (12 months) after the week the child was born or placed for the purpose of adoption. The benefits are available to biological, adoptive, or legally recognized parents at a weekly benefit rate of 55% of the claimant’s average weekly insurable earnings up to a maximum amount. The two parents can share these 35 weeks of standard parental benefits.
- Extended parental benefits can be paid for a maximum of 61 weeks and must be claimed within a 78-week period (18 months) after the week the child was born or placed for the purpose of adoption. The benefits are available to biological, adoptive, or legally recognized parents at a weekly benefit rate of 33% of the claimant’s average weekly insurable earnings up to a maximum amount. The two parents can share these 61 weeks of extended parental benefits.
Questions? Need assistance? Please contact me at the Union office.