Changes to the Employment Insurance Act – Impacts on Maternity and Parental Benefits

The following changes will not apply to Québec residents

Recently changes were made to the Employment Insurance Act (E.I.) to introduce new leaves and extend the duration of the parental leave. While these changes will affect all our members, the effect will vary according to the current language of your collective agreement and jurisdiction under which you work. The proposed changes provide greater flexibility in leave, without increasing overall EI parental benefits.

Those changes are not impacting on the maternity leave benefits. Currently the E.I. benefits are 55% of the weekly income to a maximum of $543 a week. With the changes, those who elect to extend the benefit over 61 weeks will receive 33% of the average weekly earnings capped at a maximum.

Individuals need to select an option for EI parental benefits (standard or extended).This election will be done when applying for parental EI benefits. Once done, the choice will be final.

PIPSC –Treasury Board collective agreements


PIPSC –Treasury Board collective agreements currently provide for a total of 35 weeks of parental leave. As of December 4, 2017, the E.I. allows parents to elect to extend receipt of the parental benefits for up to 61 weeks by spreading the benefit out over the 61 weeks.

Supplemental Unemployment Benefit (SUB) know as top up

The collective agreements provide for a top up at 93% of the weekly rate of pay, including “terminable allowances”, less any other money earned during this period that decreases the parental benefits. The top up is paid for a maximum period of 35 weeks.

The maximum combined shared maternity and parental allowances payable will remain at 52 weeks, which includes 35 weeks of parental allowance.

Those who will elect to extend the period up to 61 weeks, will receive the E.I. benefit of 33% of the average weekly earnings and their top up at 93% for 52 weeks (total for the maternity and parental benefits).

At week 53, their E.I. benefit will continue at 33% but no top up will be paid by the employer for the remainder of the period.

Extended leave period

For the extended parental leave period (week 53 to 61) the employee will have to apply for a Leave without pay for the care of immediate family as per your collective agreement.

Members should review their options carefully and choose the option that best suits their need.

Your Departments will be receiving a bulletin from TBS to that effect.

Other PIPSC members under the federal jurisdiction

The Canada Labour Code was also amended to provide for parental leave for up the 63 weeks. Once implemented, those members will be entitled to the 63 weeks leave period.

As per compensation, it will be limited to the E.I. benefits and top up according to their collective agreement.

Other PIPSC members under provincial jurisdiction

For these employees, provincial employment standards acts apply and limit the duration of parental leave. As a result, they will not benefit from the E.I. changes unless their collective agreement are amended to allow for  parental leave of 61 weeks or their employments standards match the E.I. provisions.