How Long is Maternity Leave In Ontario: 7 Essential Details

Employees who are pregnant have the option to take a pregnancy absence of up to 17 weeks without pay. The leave may be extended in some circumstances. Now you’ll get to know how long is maternity leave in Ontario.

When a baby or kid is born or first enters their custody, all new parents are entitled to unpaid parental leave (such as through adoption). Pregnant women who take time off are eligible for up to 61 weeks of leave. All other new parents and birth mothers who do not take pregnancy leave are eligible for up to 63 weeks of parental leave.

A biological mother may take both pregnancy and paternal leave; parental leave is not a component of pregnancy leave. Additionally, the right to a family leave is distinct from the right to an absence during pregnancy. As an illustration, the birth mother may be on maternity leave or parental leave. and the birth father may be on either parental leave.

Employees on vacation are still eligible to participate in some benefit programs and continue to accrue rank, service, and duration of employment points. Employees typically have to return to their previous position after a pregnancy or family absence.

An employee cannot be penalized in any manner by their employer simply because they are or will be qualified for maternity or parental leave, or because they have taken or are intending to take one.

Image by Clive Einstein from Pixabaycopyright 2015

1. ESA in Ontario and Employment Insurance Act:

The Employment Standards Act, 2000 (ESA) gives qualified workers the right to take unpaid time off of work if they are expectant or recently became parents.

The government Employment Insurance Act, in comparison, offers qualified workers maternity and/or paternal benefits that may be paid to the worker while the worker is on an ESA pregnancy or parental leave.

The government Employment Insurance Act’s maternity and parental benefit payout regulations are distinct from the ESA’s rules regulating the ability to take time off work for pregnancy and parental leave. For instance, up to 78 weeks after the kid is delivered, a new father may decide to start a parental absence under the ESA.

Access to parental payments under job insurance may be restricted at that time, though. If an employee plans to take a pregnancy or parental absence under the ESA, it is crucial that they learn about their entitlements to EI payments.

2. How Long Is Maternity Leave in Ontario- Pregnancy Absence: 

Pregnant workers are entitled to up to 17 weeks of unpaid leave from work, or longer in certain situations.

2.1 To Be Eligible for Maternity Leave:

  • A pregnant employee is entitled to pregnancy leave whether the employee is full-time, part-time, permanent, or on a term contract, provided that the employee
  •  is employed by an employer that is covered by the ESA, and starts employment at least 13 weeks before the date the baby is expected to be born (the “due date”).
  • The 13 weeks previous to the due date do not have to be spent working in order for an employee to be qualified for maternity leave.
  • All that is required is for the employee to have started working at least 13 weeks before the infant is due.

2.2 Candidates Should Also:

  • Be a native or lawful permanent resident of Canada.
  • Possess a minimum 12-month self-employed program registration period.
  • Pregnancy, childbirth, or adopting a child, has reduced the quantity of time spent on business by more than 40% for at least one week.
  • Prior to applying for benefits, have accrued a certain minimum quantity of self-employment income between January 1 and December 31.

    Image by Marjon Besteman from Pixabaycopyright 2021

2.3 When Maternity Absence May Start:

In general, a maternity absence cannot start earlier than 17 weeks before the employee’s due date. The employee can start maternity leave on the day of the delivery, though, if the live birth occurs more than 17 weeks before the due date.

Normally, the baby’s due date is the latest a maternity absence can start. However, if the child is delivered sooner than expected, the leave can only start on the day of delivery.

An employee may begin taking pregnancy leave at any moment during the 17 weeks leading up to and including the due date of the infant as long as they stick to these limitations.

Even if the worker is absent due to illness or the pregnancy restricts the kind of job the worker can do, the employer cannot determine when the worker will start her maternity leave.

2.4 Pregnancy Absence Duration:

For most workers, a pregnancy absence can last up to 17 weeks. However, if a worker has used up all 17 weeks of leave but is still pregnant, she may still be on maternity leave up until the baby is born. If the employee gives birth to a live child, the pregnancy leave will end on the day of the delivery, at which point the employee will typically be able to start parental leave.

A worker has the option, if wanted, to take a shorter leave. However, a pregnancy leave must be utilized all at once if it has been initiated by the employee. The employee is not permitted to use up a component of the 17 weeks, go back to work, and then resume her pregnancy leave for the remainder of the time. According to the ESA, the employee forfeits the right to use the remaining time of their pregnancy leave if they return to work for the company from whom the leave was taken, even if it’s only part-time.

Keep in mind that employees can return to work and make a certain amount of money under the federal Employment Insurance Program without having their benefits reduced. However, under the ESA, the pregnancy leave would terminate if the woman returned to work, even part-time.

2.5 Miscarriages and Stillbirths: 

An employee is not eligible for a pregnancy leave if she experiences a miscarriage or stillbirth more than 17 weeks before the infant is due.

However, an employee is qualified for maternity leave if a miscarriage or stillbirth occurs in the 17 weeks prior to the due date. In that situation, the date of the loss or stillbirth is the latest date to start the leave.

When an employee experiences a loss or stillbirth, their pregnancy leave is over 12 weeks after the stillbirth or miscarriage, whichever comes later.

This means that a worker who experiences a stillbirth or miscarriage will be entitled to a pregnancy absence that is at least 17 weeks long. It might be lengthier in some instances.

2.6 Conditions for Giving Notice for Maternity Leave:

I. Announcing the Beginning of Maternity Leave:

Before starting a pregnancy leave, an employee must give their boss written notice that is at least two weeks old.  A certificate from a medical professional (such as a doctor, midwife, or nurse practitioner) indicating the due date of the child is also required if the employer makes the request.

II. Retroactive Notice:

An expectant worker may need to leave work sooner than anticipated. (for example, because of complications caused by the pregnancy). If so, the worker must inform the boss in a written statement two weeks after ceasing work of the day the pregnancy leave started or will start.

If an employee leaves their job due to sickness or a pregnancy-related complication, they are not required to begin their pregnancy leave at that time. Instead, the employee may decide to take the time off as sick time and schedule the start of pregnancy leave for a later date (but no later than the earlier of the birth date or due date).

If so, the worker must inform the boss in writing two weeks after ceasing work of the day the leave will start. A medical certificate from a doctor, midwife, or nurse practitioner stating the due date of the child and that the employee was unable to perform the duties of the job due to the complication must be provided by the employee to the employer upon request.

If an employee leaves their job sooner than anticipated due to a birth, stillbirth, or miscarriage, they have two weeks to notify their employer in writing of the day their leave started. Beginning no later than the date of delivery, stillbirth, or abortion, the pregnancy leave is granted. The employee must provide, upon request from the employer, a medical certificate from a physician, a midwife, or a nurse practitioner that includes the due date and the date of the delivery, stillbirth, or miscarriage.

III. Changing the Commencement Date of A Pregnancy Leave:

Let’s say a worker who is expecting has given the notice to start a pregnancy absence. If the employee provides the employer with new written notice at least two weeks before the new, earlier date, the employee may start the leave earlier than the date initially given to the employer.

  • For instance, moving up the commencement of a pregnancy leave:  A woman informed her workplace in writing that she would start her pregnancy leave on September 10 and provided the date. She now wishes to begin her vacation on August 27. By August 13th, she must provide her employer with a fresh written notice. (two weeks before August 27). Additionally, an employee may choose a later start date for the pregnancy leave than the one they initially gave their workplace. In order to do so, the employee must provide the boss with fresh written notice at least two weeks prior to the date they originally stated the leave would start.
  • Example: Delaying the beginning of a pregnancy absence: A woman informed her boss in writing that she would begin her pregnancy leave on September 10. She wishes to begin the leave on September 15th at this time. She has until August 27 to provide a fresh written notice to the employer. (two weeks before September 10).

    Image by Cindy Parks from Pixabaycopyright 2020

2.7 Not Providing Notice:

An Employee’s Right to A Pregnancy Leave Is Not Forfeited if The Necessary Notice Is Not Given.

2.8 Announcing the Conclusion of A Pregnancy Leave:

Although not mandatory, an employee can let the employer know when they plan to resume work. Employers must assume the employee will take the entire 17 weeks of leave if the employee does not specify a return date. (or any longer period that the employee may be entitled to). An employee cannot be forced to return from maternity leave early by their company.

Additionally, an employer is not permitted by the ESA to demand that an employee provide proof of their fitness to resume employment in the form of medical records. The individual makes the choice to come back to work.

2.9 Modifying the Termination Date of A Pregnancy Leave:

It’s possible for an employee to request an early end date for the pregnancy leave. In this case, a new written notice must be provided to the company at least four weeks prior to the new, earlier day. The conclusion date of the leave might need to be pushed back by the employee. If this occurs, the worker is required to provide the boss with a new written notice at least four weeks prior to the day the leave was scheduled to end. The employee cannot plan a new end date for the pregnancy leave that would result in the employee taking a longer leave than the employee is allowed to under the ESA unless the employer approves.

2.10 When a Worker Chooses Not to Come Back to Work:

Let’s say a worker decides to quit their position before their pregnancy leave is over or after it is over. The employee must give the company written notice of their resignation at least four weeks in advance. If the employee is constructively fired by the employer, this notice rule does not apply. (for details on constructive discharge, see the “termination of employment” chapter.)

3. How Long Is Maternity Leave in Ontario-Parental Leave:

A parental vacation of up to 61 or 63 weeks of unpaid time off from work is permissible for both new parents.

Image by PublicDomainPictures from Pixabaycopyright 2012

3.1 To Be Eligible for Maternity Leave:

A new parent is eligible for parental leave whether they work full-time, part-time, permanently, or on a term contract as long as they are employed by an esa-covered employer and have worked there for at least 13 weeks prior to starting the leave.

The 13 weeks before the commencement of parental leave do not require an employee to work actively. For instance, the worker may be off work for all or a portion of the 13-week qualifying time due to a layoff, vacation, illness, or pregnancy leave and still be eligible for parental leave.

According to the ESA, parental leave can only be started after the employee has worked for the company for 13 weeks. Any person who is in a relationship of some permanence with a parent of the child and who intends to treat the child as their own is referred to as the child’s “parent,” regardless of whether the adoption has been formally completed. Couples of the same species are included.

3.2 Beginning of Maternity Leave:

Regular parental leave for a biological mother must start as soon as her pregnancy leave concludes. When the employee’s pregnancy leave ends, the baby might not, however, have been placed in the employee’s care for the first time. For instance, it’s possible that the infant has been cared for in a hospital since delivery and is still there when the pregnancy leave expires.

In this scenario, the employee has two options: she can return to work and start the parental leave later, or she can start it when the pregnancy leave expires. If the worker decides to go back to work, he or she will be able to begin parental leave whenever it falls within 78 weeks of the baby’s delivery or the day they first brought him or her home from the hospital.

All other parents must start their parental leave no later than 78 weeks following the earlier of the following dates: the birth of their child; or the day they first had possession of and control over their child.

3.3 Notifying the Employer of The End of Parental Leave:

An Employee Can Let the Employer Know when They Will Be Coming Back to Work, but They Are Not Obliged To. the Employer Must Assume that The Employee Will Take the Entire 61 or 63 Weeks of Leave if The Employee Does Not Specify a Return Date or Did Not Do so When Giving the Initial Notice that The Employee Was Planning to Take the Leave.

The employer will presume that an employee will take the entire 61 or 63 weeks of leave, for instance, if the employee did not specify in the initial notice that the employee planned to take 35 or 37 weeks of leave. If an employee wishes to return to work after 35 or 37 weeks off, they must give their employer four weeks’ written notice before doing so, unless their employer agrees to let them. An employee cannot be forced to return from leave early by their company.

4. Rights of workers who take maternity and parental breaks: 

Those working while on maternity or parental leave have a number of privileges.

4.1 The restoration right: 

An employee who takes maternity or parental absence typically qualifies for the following benefits:

the position the employee held prior to the start of the leave; or, if the former position is no longer available, a position that is similar. The employee must be compensated at least what they were making prior to the leave in both scenarios.

Additionally, the company is required to pay a higher wage when the employee returns from leave if it increased while they were away or would have if they weren’t on leave. Employers are not required to reinstate workers who have been fired for causes that have nothing to do with the fact that they took a leave of absence.

Image by Lisa runnels from Pixabaycopyright 2014

5. The privilege to be spared punishment:

An employee who takes a prenatal or pregnancy leave, such as an employee who adopts a child while on parental leave, cannot be penalized in any manner by their employer.

plans to take a prenatal or pregnancy absence; for instance, an employee informs their coworkers that they intend to start a family.

  • Is qualified to take a parental or pregnancy absence: such as when the employee’s spouse recently gave birth. Although the employee is qualified, they have not yet chosen to take parental leave.
  • Will be qualified to take a parental or pregnancy absence: For instance, a worker may inform their workplace that a partner of the same sex is pregnant. Due to the fact that the employee is not yet a parent, they are not yet qualified to take parental leave, but they will be in the future.
  • Inquires about maternity absence or parental leave: If a father wants to take parental leave, for instance, the employee might approach the employer.

6. The ability to carry on taking part in benefits plans:

Employees on parental or pregnancy leaves are entitled to continue participating in some benefit programs that their work may provide. Among them are dental plans, prolonged health plans, life insurance plans, accidental death plans, and pension plans.

Unless the employee notifies the employer in writing that they will not continue to pay their own part of the premiums for any of these plans that were available prior to the leave, the employer is required to continue paying its share of the premiums.

Employee participation in these plans is typically contingent upon continuing to pay the employee’s portion of the premiums.

If employees on other types of leave are permitted to continue participating in other benefit programs, then employees on parental or pregnancy leave may also continue to do so. The portion of the leave during which a female employee would not have been able to work due to health issues connected to pregnancy or childbirth may also be eligible for disability benefits.

7. Will I get money?

Up to a certain amount, maternity benefits are given for a maximum of 15 weeks at a rate equal to 55% of your average weekly wage. You must contact Service Canada to obtain the precise amount since it is established by the government each year. At first, this may be a little perplexing. Here’s an illustration:

Let’s say the government has put the upper limit at $45,900. The maximum amount of parental leave benefits you could receive, even if you made more money in the year prior to filing for leave, is $55% of $45,900, or $485 per week.

Only 55% of what you earned in the year prior to applying for parental leave benefits will be paid if it was less than $45,900.

The government determines your benefit amount based on a predetermined number of your highest-paid weeks (referred to as your “best weeks”) if your weekly earnings fluctuate or your income varies. Based on the jobless rate in your area, the number of weeks used (typically between 14 and 22 weeks) is determined.

The maternity leave benefit is considered taxable money, so both federal and state taxes will be taken out of your payment. If you receive the Canada Child Tax Benefit, you might be qualified for the Family Supplement at a higher benefit amount. (CCTB).

To learn more about whether you are eligible for the benefits, how much money you will receive for maternity leave benefits, and the one-week waiting time, call or visit the Service Canada website listed below.

Image by Sofia Shultz from Pixabaycopyright 2021

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