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Planning for Maternity and Parental Leave

August 10, 2013 by HealthyFamilies BC

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All new parents - moms and dads - are entitled to take time off work to care for a new baby. Two kinds of leave are available: maternity leave and parental leave.


Under the B.C. Employment Standards Act, birth mothers who work outside the home are entitled to up to 17 consecutive weeks of unpaid maternity leave. This may be extended by up to six consecutive weeks if you’re unable to return to work for reasons related to the birth. Your employer may ask for a healthcare provider's certificate to support a request for leave or a leave extension.

Employers are also required to provide an unpaid parental leave of 35 weeks for birth mothers and 37 weeks for fathers or adopting parents. The birth mother usually takes parental leave right after her maternity leave is over.

You may also qualify for Employment Insurance benefits during this time. For more information visit the Service Canada website. 

Please note: This is for general information only. It is not a legal document.

For details of provincial rules, call  the Employment Standards information line.  The number is listed in the blue pages of your phone book. You can also visit the Employment Standards Branch website.

For information on federal rules and Employment Insurance for maternity, parental or other leaves, contact Human Resources and Skills Development Canada.

For information specific to your workplace, talk to your employer.

Your job or a similar position must be kept for you while you're on leave. Your benefits, such as medical coverage, will continue, as long as you keep paying your share of the premium cost.


Resources and Links:

Province of BC Employment Standards Branch
Labour Canada: Maternity and Parental Leave
Service Canada: Employment Insurance Maternity and Parental Benefits

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  1. Activity & Lifestyles
  2. Aging Well
  3. Pregnancy & Parenting
    1. Pregnancy & Birth
    2. Babies (0-12 months)
    3. Toddlers (12-36 months)
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    5. Children (6-11 years)
    6. Teens (12-18 years)
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