Payroll legislation: maternity & parental leave



In Canada, Employment Insurance (EI) provides a benefit in the form of financial assistance when employees are absent from work for either maternity or parental leave. 

EI maternity and parental benefits are available to people who are away from work because they are pregnant, have recently given birth, or are caring for their newborn or newly adopted child. Maternity benefits are available to individuals who are away from work because they're pregnant or have recently given birth, and cannot be shared between parents. On the other hand, parental benefits are available to individuals of a newborn or newly adopted child, and can be shared between parents. There are two options for parental benefits, the standard parental benefits or extended parental benefits. If the parental benefits are being shared, both parties have to choose the same option and submit their own application. Note that for individuals in Québec the Québec Parental Insurance Plan (QPIP) is the entity that provides the payment of benefits to eligible workers who take maternity, paternity, parental, or adoption leave. Both EI and QPIP are income-replacement plans, meaning that an individual must have received a work income to qualify for the benefit. 

The length of leave between maternity and parental leave varies, and further to that it also differs depending on provincial/territorial legislation as well. Fortunately, Payworks has a single, unified chart that shows the federal and provincial payroll requirements and entitlements for both maternity or parental leave:

Length of Leave (in weeks)
  Maternity Parental/Adoptive
BC 17 62
Alberta 16 62
Saskatchewan 19 59
Manitoba 17 63
Ontario 17 61-63
Quebec 18 52
New Brunswick 17 62
Nova Scotia 16 61
PEI 17 61
Newfoundland 17 61
Yukon 17 37
NWT 17 61
Nunavut 17 37
Federal 17 63


Other resources to consult regarding maternity and parental leave legislation include the Government of Canada website as well as the Payworks Payroll Guide

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