Parenting & Family

Mother/Father Maternity/Parental leave at the same time

[OP]
Jr. Member
Apr 20, 2017
154 posts
199 upvotes

Mother/Father Maternity/Parental leave at the same time

Hi

I’m trying to get a plan in place for our maternity/parental leaves for when our new baby arrives.

My wife plans to take a full year off. I would like to take 12 weeks. My employer will top EI so I end up with 100% of my salary for the first 12 weeks after the baby is born.

Hoping I could get some help with what parental leave options we should be selecting and/or how to maximize this situation. I am under the impression if we choose “extended” and my wife goes back after a year she would be giving up the remainder of the 6 month EI payments (less 7 weeks (12 week leave less 5 weeks of father parental leave).

Much appreciated.
10 replies
Newbie
Aug 9, 2020
10 posts
4 upvotes
from what I remember, this is back in 2012, you get 52 weeks total of EI Parental from government to be split between mom and dad. For us, my husband got 5 weeks top up after baby was born, so he took the first 5 weeks, while I was "unpaid" the first 5 weeks. then when he went back to work, I took the rest of the 47 weeks of EI, with some top up from employer. I don't know how extended works since that was after my time
Deal Addict
Nov 13, 2013
2317 posts
1117 upvotes
Ottawa
foz240 wrote: Hi

I’m trying to get a plan in place for our maternity/parental leaves for when our new baby arrives.

My wife plans to take a full year off. I would like to take 12 weeks. My employer will top EI so I end up with 100% of my salary for the first 12 weeks after the baby is born.

Hoping I could get some help with what parental leave options we should be selecting and/or how to maximize this situation. I am under the impression if we choose “extended” and my wife goes back after a year she would be giving up the remainder of the 6 month EI payments (less 7 weeks (12 week leave less 5 weeks of father parental leave).

Much appreciated.
For 5 weeks you are problem free. For the other weeks you want to talk to your company's HR about their top up. The actual EI will be much less important. The new 18 month rules makes things tricky. Most companies will not give 100% top up for 18 months. Sometimes you can get it for 12 and then get the reduced EI for the remaining 6.
[OP]
Jr. Member
Apr 20, 2017
154 posts
199 upvotes
fogetmylogin wrote: For 5 weeks you are problem free. For the other weeks you want to talk to your company's HR about their top up. The actual EI will be much less important. The new 18 month rules makes things tricky. Most companies will not give 100% top up for 18 months. You can get it for 12 and then get the reduced EI for the remaining 6.

Thanks. What exactly am I talking to my companies HR about though? They will top up the first 12 weeks
Deal Addict
Nov 13, 2013
2317 posts
1117 upvotes
Ottawa
foz240 wrote: Thanks. What exactly am I talking to my companies HR about though? They will top up the first 12 weeks
They will top up to 100% if you take 12 weeks also on the 18 month schedule? I don't think this is universal. The extra cost to them is not significant but I would make sure.
[OP]
Jr. Member
Apr 20, 2017
154 posts
199 upvotes
fogetmylogin wrote: They will top up to 100% if you take 12 weeks also on the 18 month schedule? I don't think this is universal. The extra cost to them is not significant but I would make sure.
They will. I guess my question is more around, what option for leave do my wife and I select when going off and how do we go about splitting the weeks?
Deal Addict
Nov 13, 2013
2317 posts
1117 upvotes
Ottawa
foz240 wrote: They will. I guess my question is more around, what option for leave do my wife and I select when going off and how do we go about splitting the weeks?
You need to look at when you think your wife will go back. Also consider this can change. Since you will take 7 weeks away from your wife theoretically it would be better for those to be the lower 18month leave weeks than the full EI weeks. As you point out if she goes back after 1 year those 19 weeks will be lost. If you do the 1 year. She will get 45 weeks. She would need to go back to work or use vacation or other leave to get to a year if this is important. Keep in mind child care options open up after 15 months and a 12 month old does "feel" young to put into care. Of course Americans do it at 6 weeks so it can be done.
[OP]
Jr. Member
Apr 20, 2017
154 posts
199 upvotes
fogetmylogin wrote: You need to look at when you think your wife will go back. Also consider this can change. Since you will take 7 weeks away from your wife theoretically it would be better for those to be the lower 18month leave weeks than the full EI weeks. As you point out if she goes back after 1 year those 19 weeks will be lost. If you do the 1 year. She will get 45 weeks. She would need to go back to work or use vacation or other leave to get to a year if this is important. Keep in mind child care options open up after 15 months and a 12 month old does "feel" young to put into care. Of course Americans do it at 6 weeks so it can be done.
Thanks. This is our 2nd, and yah dropping our first off after 1 year was tough. I can’t imagine how most Americans feel having to leave such a young baby in care. Crazy.

So if we choose a “standard” leave and my wife wants to be off longer (ie to make up for the 7 weeks I would be taking from her) we can not do that? Understand we would not be eligible for EI benefits which is fine, but would want to ensure we are covered from a job security perspective.
Deal Addict
Nov 13, 2013
2317 posts
1117 upvotes
Ottawa
foz240 wrote: Thanks. This is our 2nd, and yah dropping our first off after 1 year was tough. I can’t imagine how most Americans feel having to leave such a young baby in care. Crazy.

So if we choose a “standard” leave and my wife wants to be off longer (ie to make up for the 7 weeks I would be taking from her) we can not do that? Understand we would not be eligible for EI benefits which is fine, but would want to ensure we are covered from a job security perspective.
I think under Canadian law no. Her workplace may have a more generous policy. The thing is of course if they won't wait 7 weeks for her if she has no job protection beyond Canadian law they can get rid of her anyway at anytime though it would be somewhat more difficult.

Lastly be prepared for a different reaction to going back to work with the second. Especially if you plan it to be your last.
Sr. Member
Oct 24, 2010
881 posts
666 upvotes
Ottawa
@foz240

Ok, there are some misunderstandings flying around here.

Do not confuse EI with job protected leave. They are completely different, decoupled, and for many people under different jurisdictions. Do not lump them together.

Whether your wife takes Standard or Extended EI will have zero impact, zero, on the amount of time your wife's job is protected. In most provinces, and for those industries covered by the federal labour code, the job protected leave is effectively 18 months (it's actually represented by a number of weeks).

You can most definitely take Standard EI (effectively 12 months) and still have 18 months of job protected leave in provinces that allow 18 months of job protected parental leave in their employment standards (ON, AB, Federal for sure, but I think most, if not all, have caught up).

I strongly advocate that those who can budget for 6 months of no cash flow from the one parent should generally take the Standard EI. If you do the math, you'll end up with more in your pocket than the Extended EI, and it will provide the flexibility to return to work after 12 months without having lost any EI benefits. If you go the Extended EI route and your wife decided to return back to work at 14 months, you'll lose 4 months' worth of EI.

However, the advice for you may be a little different given the top up. Double check your top up policies. Extended EI is a very recent thing. The collective bargaining agreements for most federal public servant positions actually state that the top up is to 93% for Standard EI, and is reduced to 55.8% if you're on Extended EI. If you're truly receiving a top-up to 100% even on Extended EI, it would likely be to your financial benefit for your wife to opt for the Extended EI, particularly if she plans to stay off for 18 months.

Keep in mind as well that under Extended EI, you actually get 8 additional weeks when sharing benefits, not 5.

But it's definitely important to remember that job protected leave and EI are different things and fall under different jurisdictions. Your employer has zero knowledge of whether you're taking Standard or Extended EI, or no EI at all. Your choice does not influence job security one bit.

Source: My wife is a Senior HR Advisor in Ontario, with detailed knowledge of the AB, ON, and QC codes, as well as a young mother who went through all of this 2 years ago.
Sr. Member
Oct 24, 2010
881 posts
666 upvotes
Ottawa
I did some math because math is fun, assuming you qualify for maximum maternity and parental payouts ($573 for maternity and for standard parental EI, $340 for extended parental EI).

With Standard EI, you'll get $31,515 in EI benefits.
With Extended EI, you'll get $32,055 in EI benefits + $2,796 in additional top-ups from your employer (over and above what you'd get from Standard), assuming you're correct in that they top up Extended EI to 100% as well.

That's a difference of $3,336. Extended EI is a max of $340, so it's the equivalent of $3,336/$340 = 10 weeks.

If your wife thinks she'll go back to work anywhere before 62 weeks (84-12-10), take Standard EI because you'll have receive a net higher payout. If she knows she'll go back after 62 weeks, whether you're taking the leave in parallel or in series, the net benefit will be greater for Extended.

Note that 62 weeks is really just 14 months.

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