New Parental Allowance FAQ

Please note:

The new parental allowance provisions are currently applicable to the AV, NR, RE, SH, SP, CNRC (LS, IR, RO-RCO, TR), CRA (AFS), OSFI, CNSC (NUREG), NEB and NFB collective agreements.

Please contact the Institute if you are unsure of your eligibility for the new parental allowance benefits.

These changes apply only to the parental allowance. The maternity allowance provisions remain the same. The new parental leave provisions, not the allowance, were applicable on the date of signing of the new collective agreements and are currently available to employees in the above noted groups. 

1. When are the new parental allowance provisions taking effect: when a parental leave request is approved or when the parental leave is taken?

The date that determines an employee’s parental allowance is the date on which the employee starts parental leave, regardless of when a maternity or parental leave period was requested or approved.

The new parental allowance provisions in the 2018 - 2022 collective agreement will take effect on November 18, 2019. Employees who start parental leave before this date will be subject to the allowance provisions of the 2014 - 2018 collective agreement, those who start parental leave on or after this date will be subject to the allowance provisions of the 2018 - 2022 collective agreement.

2. If an employee divides their parental leave in two periods, and are required to put in a leave request for the second portion of the parental leave, what parental allowance provisions apply to the second part of the leave?

The employee will be subject to the provisions of the collective agreement under which they first started their leave regardless of the timing of the second part of their leave.

3. Under the new provisions, employees who elect to choose the extended E.I. parental benefit receive an allowance, while in receipt of E.I., to a combined amount of 55.8%. Is this the case whether they take 1 week or the full 71 weeks?

If an employee selects the extended parental leave option under E.I. and starts the leave on or after the November 18, 2019 implementation date they will receive the combined amount of 55.8% for all weeks they are on parental leave and in receipt of E.I. The employee’s allowance ceases on their return to work.

If an employee elects the extended parental leave option under E.I. and starts leave prior to the November 18, 2019 implementation date, they will receive the combined amount of 93% for all weeks they are on parental leave up to a maximum of 37 weeks. The allowance ceases on their return to work. If the employee remains off work on extended parental leave, the allowance ceases after a maximum period of 37 weeks (if eligible for the waiting period and additional week), however E.I. will continue until the employee returns to work or the E.I. benefit runs out.

4. What is the implementation period for the new provisions involving a change in the allowance received (93%/55.8%)?

A single employee electing the standard 35 week parental option under E.I. will experience no change in the benefits of their collective agreement. The changes, comprised of the extended parental leave option and the additional five (standard option) or eight (extended option) shared weeks are available to take as leave under the collective agreement as of signature date, however the parental allowances associated with the new parental leaves will be implemented on November 18, 2019.

5. How will the parental allowance apply if parent 1 is an employee subject to a collective agreement with the new language and parent 2 an employee subject to the current language or vice versa (example CS or PSAC)?

In circumstances where employees have differing collective agreement language, each employee will be subject to the provisions of their respective collective agreement for their parental allowance eligibility and amount.

6. Will the implementation date of November 18, 2019 be the same for all employees subject to the new parental allowance provisions regardless of their union or collective agreement signature date?

Yes. Treasury Board will implement on the same day for all agreements that have the same parental allowance provisions (including ACFO, CAPE, IBEW and AJC). Employees should check with their union to ensure they are covered by the new parental allowance provisions.

7. Is an employee covered by QPIP or E.I. for maternity and parental benefits?

Employees apply under the regime of the province in which the employee is a resident. For Quebec, an employee would apply to QPIP, for all other provinces an employee would apply to E.I.

8. When does an employee have to decide whether to take the standard or the extended parental leave?

The election of either the standard or extended parental leave option happens with E.I. and must be done prior to the start of the parental leave period. The election of parent 1 (the first to take leave) determines the leave option for parent 2.

9. How many weeks is an employee entitled to under the standard parental leave under E.I.?

The standard parental leave under E.I. is 35 weeks to be taken within a 52 week period. Under the collective agreement an employee is entitled to a parental allowance of up to a maximum of 37 weeks. This covers the waiting period and an additional week. These additional two weeks are subject to not have already been taken by a parent while on maternity leave for the same child. The additional week also requires both parents be employed in the public service.

10. Are the five additional sharing weeks available under the standard E.I. parental benefit eligible for the parental allowance in the collective agreement?

The five additional weeks available to parents who share the standard E.I. parental benefit are eligible for a further parental allowance if both parents are employed in the public service. This would extend the parental allowance from a combined amount of 93% for 35 weeks to 40 weeks. One parent cannot take more than 35 weeks to be eligible for the additional weeks under E.I. and the allowance.

11. How many weeks is an employee entitled to under the new Extended Parental Leave under E.I.?

The extended parental leave under E.I. is 61 weeks to be taken within a 78-week period. Under the collective agreement an employee is entitled to a parental allowance of up to a maximum of 63 weeks within the 78-week period. This covers the waiting period and an additional week. These additional two weeks are subject to not have already been taken by a parent while on maternity leave for the same child. The additional week also requires both parents be employed in the public service.

12. Are the eight additional sharing weeks available under the extended E.I. parental benefit eligible for the extended parental allowance in the collective agreement?

The eight additional weeks available to parents who share the extended E.I. parental benefit are eligible for a further parental allowance if both parents are employed in the public service. This would extend the parental allowance from a combined amount of 55.8% for 61 weeks to 69 weeks. One parent cannot take more than 61 weeks to be eligible for the additional weeks under E.I. and the allowance.

13. Under the QPIP regime, is an employee entitled to the new extended parental allowance?

No. The QPIP regime does not offer an extended parental leave benefit; however, employees are eligible to take the extended parental leave (time) as provided in the collective agreement without the allowance. Their allowance will then be as if they had taken the standard leave, for up to 52 (one parent working for the public services) or 57 (both parents work for the public services).

14. What is the maximum combined, shared, maternity and standard parental allowances payable under the new regime?

For an employee who is in receipt of EI:
The total amount of maternity and shared standard parental leave eligible for a top up allowance is 57 weeks if both parents are employed in the public service. This includes 15 weeks of maternity leave, one week waiting period, one additional week and a shared parental benefit of 40 weeks. One parent must take a minimum of 5 weeks to be eligible for the additional 5 weeks sharing benefit (bringing standard parental from 35 weeks to 40 weeks).

For an employee who is in receipt of QPIP: The total amount of maternity, shared parental and paternity leave eligible for a top up allowance is 57 weeks if both parents are employed in the public service. This includes 18 weeks of maternity leave, a shared parental benefit of 32 weeks and a paternity benefit of 5 weeks. Under certain conditions an additional two weeks could be available, please refer to your collective agreement for eligibility.

15. What is the maximum combined, shared, maternity and extended parental allowances payable under the new regime?

The total amount of maternity and shared extended parental leave eligible for a top up allowance is 86 weeks if both parents are employed in the public service. This includes 15 weeks of maternity leave, one week waiting period, one additional week and a shared parental benefit of 69 weeks. One parent must take a minimum of 8 weeks to be eligible for the additional 8 weeks sharing benefit (bringing extended parental from 61 weeks to 69 weeks).

16. How much time does an employee owe back to their employer on return from parental leave?

An employee returning from a standard parental leave, having received a parental allowance of 93%, is required to work an equivalent amount of time to the parental allowance received.

An employee returning from an extended parental leave, having received a parental allowance of 55.8%, is required to work 60% (at full time hours) of the parental allowance received.

This work may be fulfilled in the original position or a new position within the core public administration, an agency or another eligible public sector employer. Please contact your union to ensure a new position remains eligible for this purpose.

17. I was on Maternity/Parental Leave and I received a retro payment, but the total amount received so far doesn’t add up to 93% of my new salary. Am I still owed more?

Yes. You are owed retro pay based on 93% of your new salary as determined by the effective dates in the new collective agreement. The total amount will be paid in two steps:

  1. The first payment will be determined by applying percentage increases to the allowance that you’ve already been paid. This step can be done more quickly as part of an automated mass payment operation. 
  2. The next step requires the employer to go into each employee’s file and manually adjust for the difference between everything you’ve already been paid and 93% of the applicable salary. This step will take longer to complete.
18. What will be the impact on my pension if I take extended parental leave?

You can choose whether or not you earn pensionable service during your extended parental leave. This is an all-or-nothing choice – you can’t choose to earn pensionable service for only part of your leave.

If you choose not to earn pensionable service, you do not have to make any pension contributions.

If you choose to earn pensionable service, you must make pension contributions as follows:

  • pay your regular contribution for the first 52 weeks of leave
  • pay double your regular contribution for the remaining weeks of leave (to cover the employer’s contribution)

You can choose to pay your pension contributions when you return to work rather than when you’re on leave. There is no interest or other penalties. Your repayments are made over twice the amount of time you were off. For example, if you were on leave for 18 months, your repayments would be made over 3 years.

PIPSC has requested that the employer continue to make its pension contribution throughout your leave so that you don’t ever have to make double payments. We will keep you posted on our progress.

19. What will be the impact on my benefits if I take extended parental leave?

Under the health plan, you will continue to be covered during extended parental leave, unless you notify the employer that you don’t want coverage.

You don’t need to do anything to maintain your coverage.

You will continue to pay your regular contribution for the first 52 weeks of leave. For the remaining weeks of leave, you pay your regular contribution as well as the employer’s contribution.

For dental coverage, the employer pays the full cost for the first 52 weeks of leave. To maintain your coverage for the remaining leave, you must make arrangements to pay your contribution before you take your leave.