Canada has expanded its parental leave policy, joining a growing list of benefit-friendly countries. Canada’s policy gives parents additional flexibility and aims to provide better work-life balance for families.
Maternal leave can now be taken up to 12 weeks before a baby is born or adopted, up from eight weeks under the previous policy. In addition, parents now have two options for receiving parental leave benefits: standard or extended. Standard benefits are paid at a weekly rate of 55% of the claimant’s earnings (up to a maximum amount) for up to 35 weeks. Extended benefits are paid at a weekly rate of 33% of the claimant’s earnings (up to a maximum amount) for up to 61 weeks.
There are two controversies related to the new policy. First, weekly amounts paid under the extended benefits have been greatly reduced. As a result, it may not be financially feasible for many families to take advantage of the extended period.
Second, the new benefits are only available to 8% of the Canadian workforce. At this time, the changes only apply to workers in public service and federally regulated workplaces such as banks, transportation companies, and telecoms. Given that most labor legislation is administered on a provincial level, each province must make similar changes for all Canadian workers to have similar benefits.
Read the full blog article—including an overview of leave policies in other countries.
Pauline Johnson is Senior Human Resources Consultant for Radius. An expert in domestic and international human resources requirements and best practices, Johnson came to Radius in 2015. She has worked in the HR consulting field for more than 25 years, holding various senior positions within the professional services and financial services sectors. She is based in Radius’ Boston office.