PREGNANCY LEAVE AND PARENTAL LEAVE

Ellen's Question:My husband and I are expecting our first child at the end of 2018. We both work at the local bakery in Englehart, Ontario, and we are concerned for our positions there. How does pregnancy leave/parental leave work? What are we entitled to?

Thank you for your questions Ellen. In order to answer your questions, it is important that we look at what it means to be eligible, the types of leaves that are offered, and the statutory requirements.

1. Eligibility:

In Ontario, any individual who meets the definition of “employee” under Ontario’s Employment Standards Act, 2000, is eligible for either a pregnancy leave or parental leave.

2. Types of Parental Leave:

Ontario legislation provides for two types of parental leave. They are:

  • I. Unpaid Pregnancy Leave; and
  • II. Unpaid Parental Leave.

3. Unpaid Pregnancy Leave:

Unpaid pregnancy leave is available to an employee who is pregnant or recovering from a pregnancy.
An employee’s whose pregnancy ends in still birth or miscarriage prior to seventeen (17) weeks before her due date is not eligible for pregnancy leave.

4. Unpaid Paternal Leave:

Unpaid paternal leave is available to an employee who has become the birth parent of a child; has become the adoptive parent of a child; or has a relationship of some permanence with a parent of a child and who intends to treat the child has his/her own.

5. Requirements for Service and Notice:

In order to be eligible for a pregnancy leave or paternal leave, the employee MUST meet the statutory requirements regarding service and notice.

A. Service Requirements:

If an employee’s due date falls less than thirteen (13) weeks after they started working for their employer, they will NOT be entitled to pregnancy leave.
Employees are ONLY entitled to pregnancy leave OR parental leave after they have worked for their employer for at least thirteen (13) consecutive weeks.


B. Notice Requirements:

An employee is typically required to provide their employer with two (2) weeks’ notice from the start of their pregnancy leave or parental leave.
If requested by their employer, an employee must provide them with a certificate from a legally qualified medical practitioner stating her due date.
An employee is NOT required to provide their employer with advanced notice if she stops working due to:

  • 1. Pregnancy complications;
  • 2. Birth;
  • 3. Still birth; or
  • 4. Miscarriage.

If a child comes into an employee’s custody unexpectedly, an employee is not required to provide their employer with advanced notice of their parental leave.

6. Length of Pregnancy Leave/Parental Leave:

Pregnancy leave is normally a maximum of seventeen (17) weeks.

An employee who takes a pregnancy leave is also entitled to unpaid parental leave of up to sixty-one (61) weeks. If the employee did not take a pregnancy leave, and only takes a parental leave, they are entitled to sixty-three (63) consecutive weeks.

7. Summary:

So, Ellen, if you wish to take a pregnancy leave or your husband wishes to take a parental leave; remember that:

  • 1. In order to be eligible for pregnancy/parental leave you MUST have worked for your employer for at least thirteen (13) consecutive weeks;
  • 2. You must provide your employer with two (2) weeks’ notice from the start of your leave; and
  • 3. You do not need to provide two (2) weeks’ notice to your employer if you experience:
    • a. Pregnancy complications;
    • b. Birth;
    • c. Still birth; or
    • d. Miscarriage.

If you choose to take a pregnancy leave, you are entitled to seventeen weeks of pregnancy leave, plus an additional sixty-one (61) weeks of parental leave.

If you choose not to take a pregnancy leave, and your husband chooses to take a parental leave, he is entitled to sixty-three (63) weeks of parental leave.

8. Suzanne Desrosiers Professional Corporation:

For more information, or to book an appointment please contact Suzanne Desrosiers today, at suzanne@sdlawtimmins.com or 705-268-6492.

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