Parenting & Family

When should I (Dad) take parental leave?

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  • Jul 15th, 2022 6:56 am
[OP]
Member
Apr 15, 2007
282 posts
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Thornhill

When should I (Dad) take parental leave?

I have the opportunity to take 4 months of parental leave when my wife gives birth next year. This will be our first child. I was thinking of two options:

  1. Take 3 months off when wife gives birth (1 month vacation + 2 months parental leave) and then take 2 months off when my child is 6+ months
  2. Take 1 month off when gives birth (using vacation days) and then take 4 months off when my child is 6+ months

To all the experienced dads here, what would you have done? And why?
68 replies
Member
Jul 31, 2018
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Most companies require you to take parental leave all at once (on the books at least), so I would think your option 2 is the only viable one.
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Dec 6, 2006
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Yeah, hugely depends on if you can actually split the 4 months up.

Regardless, taking more time off at the beginning after birth would be better for first time parents, IMO. That's when the baby usually needs feeding every 2-3 hours, around the clock.
[OP]
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Apr 15, 2007
282 posts
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Thornhill
maxineli wrote: Most companies require you to take parental leave all at once (on the books at least), so I would think your option 2 is the only viable one.
My company seems to be flexible with splitting the leaves (I know it's uncommon because of employer restrictions so I'm thankful in my case), that's why I'm seeing which is the better option.
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Dec 6, 2006
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Well then, definitely not (2). With all those days available to spare, take at least 3 months starting at birth, IMO. When, Baby likely needs the most around the clock care, wife likely at the weakest state after birth (esp first child), and likely the most frequent new "experiences" and anxieties you'll have to face.
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Oct 24, 2010
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split_cross wrote: My company seems to be flexible with splitting the leaves (I know it's uncommon because of employer restrictions so I'm thankful in my case), that's why I'm seeing which is the better option.
Are you planning to take any EI?

I'm pretty sure you can't split your portion of any parental EI into two blocks, so keep that in mind.
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Mar 7, 2007
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Maybe I would recommend taking it all at the beginning.

With my kids, I was always able to work normally, my performance was fine with very little sleep. But I know of some coworkers who suffered a lot due to lack of sleep. Each person (and baby) is different, so consider the sleep deprivation factor...
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Nov 13, 2013
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Yeah depends on the baby and especially the mom. She might be barely hanging on month 2 and 3 and really need you. On the other hand if things are going well will be in a groove and as a dad it's 6 months + when you can really shine and enjoy your time. Take him for a few hours and let your wife get back into her hobbies etc. Her general anxiety level to life will mostly determine the outcome so it's probably not hard to predict though medical, feeding and other issues of course come as well.
Sr. Member
Dec 13, 2006
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At my place Paternity/Materny leave could be split, But parental leave had to be in one chunk.

I was able to take Paternity leave + vacation, go back to work and Parental Leave afterward.

Also, you will probably want to match with daycare access too.. My wife had to restart work after 4 month, so I took month 5 and 6 before the daycare.
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Jul 4, 2006
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As a general matter, more help at the beginning is better. But selfishly, the back end is more fun lol.
Dynatos wrote: Are you planning to take any EI?

I'm pretty sure you can't split your portion of any parental EI into two blocks, so keep that in mind.
Yeah and your employer top up may require you to be on EI to get the top up. And only one of you can get EI at a time.

So depends on what your money situation is too.. you may or may not care.
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poorwingman wrote: And only one of you can get EI at a time.
Both parents can take EI parental benefits at the same time, but are limited to a combined total of weeks.

For example, if they were to equally split Standard parental EI, they'd be able to both receive benefits for 20 weeks simultaneously (+15 weeks maternity EI for the mother).

If there's a topup involved that requires proof of EI, it's generally better for that person to use as many EI weeks as they can if they're going to be off work because of the extra benefit the top up provides.
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Sep 21, 2004
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Father of 3. My advice, take off as much time as you can afford to. You'll never look back and say "I wish I went to work instead".

First 1-3 months is crucial as having a baby is a huge shock to your life. You want to be there giving 100% to handle life's challenges. Particularly for your first. We found with each kid it got progressively easier as we built up experience, patience, etc.

6 months, 12 months and 18 months are "fun" zones to enjoy as a parent. Take your pick although honestly it's all pretty awesome in its own way.

For our first I took months 1, 18-20 off. Second was months 1 and 18 off but I worked heavily from home. Third I took months 1, 5-8 off while working heavily from home and now working from home indefinitely. Mrs took ~20 months off for each kid. Good chunks of all that were unpaid but we're lucky that we even have the flexibility to do that. We've gone into debt for each kid but we've never looked back or regretted it. Money can always be made but you can't buy time back.

My suggestion is parental leave simultaneously for birth for support reasons. Then your pick of vacation days for summer so you can go out and enjoy life as a family.

Congrats and enjoy!
[OP]
Member
Apr 15, 2007
282 posts
72 upvotes
Thornhill
Thanks everyone for sharing your personal experiences, really helps me as a first time dad. It's pretty clear that staggering the leave has the most benefits and I would like to spend more time supporting at the beginning while also 'playing' with them when they're a few months older.
Member
Jul 21, 2013
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Toronto
You’ll have more fun at the end of first year then the beginning , at least that was my experience.
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Aug 12, 2011
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NORTH YORK
Just a thought. If you are able to split your leaves. I'd almost do 2 months at the beginning and 2 months 6+months. Then use your vacation days throughout the year to shorten your work week (instead of one big chunk) may be more helpful for the day to day.
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May 28, 2005
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I took 6 weeks off (1 week vacation, 5 weeks parental EI) when my wife gave birth. Definitely needed to help out the wife with her post partum recovery. I'm also working from home now so my experience is a little different during COVID times
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Nov 28, 2013
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When my GF gave birth of our first

I took 3 weeks of parental leave (for dad) and 2 weeks vacation (was in july)
for Xmas took my last 2 weeks of parental leave and 1 week of vacation

Best decision ever imo,

with the 2nd coming in May im trying the same kinda, trying to save my vacations for after parental


the worst thing is planing all, as a birth is not plannable

Exemple in QC the Parental leave starts on a Sunday (so if I you active it on a Thursday then you wasted the rest of the week)
and the father is not allowed (with reasons) to start the parental leave until the kid is born

So for me he was born on a Tuesday, so I took the week off at my own time, then started the parental leave the week after
Sr. Member
Jun 2, 2017
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Piggybacking off this thread. Also a Dad in Ontario planning to take parental leafe after wife returns to work.

Specific details:
Wife took a year off (12 months/52 weeks) which started Jan 4th,2020 and Ends Jan 4 2021 under the standard parental benefits option.

Breaking this down from a benefits perspective:
Wife took the max 15 weeks maternity leave.
Wife took the max 35 weeks of parental leave.
There are 2 weeks of no benefits/unpaid
Total: 52 weeks

Now I want to take advantage of the Parental Sharing Benefit. I understand I can take up to 5 weeks based on the source below (combined you can take up to 40 weeks but one parent cannot receive more than 35 weeks of standard benefits).

Based on this:

1) Would I get the full 5 weeks benefit as ServiceCanada does not count the 2 weeks of no benefits/unpaid my wife took as part of the overall parental benefits paid
2) Or would I only get 3 weeks benefit as ServiceCanada counts the 2 weeks of no benefits/unpaid my wife tookhas against the overall parental benefits paid

Source:https://www.canada.ca/en/services/benef ... ental.html
Last edited by CEOofPopeyes on Nov 1st, 2020 5:18 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Oct 5, 2008
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when our son was born, my wife took the first 3 months and i took 9 months until he was 1.

My wife is professionally incorporated so didn't even qualify for EI, hence her early return to work.

I would do it again in a heartbeat
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May 28, 2005
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CEOofPopeyes wrote: Piggybacking off this thread. Also a Dad in Ontario planning to take parental leafe after wife returns to work.

Specific details:
Wife took a year off (12 months/52 weeks) which started Jan 4th,2020 and Ends Jan 4 2021 under the standard parental benefits option.

Breaking this down from a benefits perspective:
Wife took the max 15 weeks maternity leave.
Wife took the max 35 weeks of parental leave.
There are 2 weeks of no benefits/unpaid
Total: 52 weeks

Now I want to take advantage of the Parental Sharing Benefit. I understand I can take up to 5 weeks based on the source below (combined you can take up to 40 weeks but one parent cannot receive more than 35 weeks of standard benefits).

Based on this:

1) Would I get the full 5 weeks benefit as ServiceCanada does not count the 2 weeks of no benefits/unpaid my wife took as part of the overall parental benefits paid
2) Or would I only get 3 weeks benefit as ServiceCanada counts the 2 weeks of no benefits/unpaid my wife tookhas against the overall parental benefits paid

Source:https://www.canada.ca/en/services/benef ... ental.html
You would get 5 weeks, the waiting period is waive if the wife already served it.
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