Maternity Leave for B.C. Government Employees

Women who are expecting a baby are entitled to a maternity leave of up to 17 weeks. When combined with standard parental leave, the time off work can add up to 52 weeks.  When combined with extended parental leave, the time off work can add up to 78 weeks.

If you are eligible for maternity benefits (for example, if your master agreement or terms and conditions of employment offer them), maternity leave begins 6 weeks before your expected due date. You can choose to begin your maternity leave up to 13 weeks before your due date or you can choose to defer it to closer to your due date with written consent from your doctor or midwife.

If you are not eligible for maternity benefits (for example, if you are an auxiliary employee) your leave is per the Employment Standards Act.

Read important information about your benefits, vacation and pension contributions while on maternity leave before you apply.

If you become ill before your leave begins, but within the 6-week period before your due date, contact us to confirm your leave start date.


Follow this timeline closely.

The start date of your leave will always be the day after your last day worked and/or including any leave banks taken until the day your doctor cleared you to work.

Employment insurance (EI) pay periods run Sunday to Saturday inclusive. EI will not pay for partial weeks. It is in your best interest to have the day after your last day of pay be a Saturday, if possible.   

10 weeks before your due date

Notify AskMyHR of your upcoming leave. You can use the Maternity, Parental, Extended Child Care Leave Calculator (XLSM, 12KB) tool to help you figure out the dates of your leave.

If you are eligible for maternity leave benefits, submit the following documents to your supervisor:

Your supervisor will submit the documents through AskMyHR.

If you are not eligible for maternity leave benefits but are requesting maternity leave, submit a letter to your supervisor stating the dates of your leave and a doctor's note stating your due date. See Sample Letter to Supervisor Advising of Maternity or Parental Leave (DOCX, 743KB).

If you are electing to start your maternity leave 13 weeks prior to your due date, you must notify your supervisor in writing at least four weeks prior to the start of your leave.

Before your maternity leave begins

When your maternity leave starts

Apply for employment insurance. Payroll services will electronically submit your record of employment (ROE) directly to Service Canada. 

The soonest a ROE can be issued is five days after the end of the pay period in which your leave started. 

After your first EI payment

If you choose to take maternity allowance, submit the following through an AskMyHR service request or by fax at 250-652-2155 after you receive your first EI payment:

  • Your name and employee number
  • Copy of your My Latest Claim EI page. It should show your benefit waiting period dates (if applicable), benefit amount and start and end dates of your approved EI claim

After the birth

Update your medical and dental benefits and your life insurance plans. If you have flexible benefits, you have 60 days from the birth of your baby to make changes to your flexible benefits options.

Before your maternity leave ends

If you are not taking parental leave and are returning to work, inform your supervisor in writing at least 1 month before the end of your maternity leave. Use the Sample Letter to Supervisor Advising of Return to Work After Maternity, Parental or Pre-placement Adoption Leave (DOCX, 48.6KB). Also inform your supervisor if you are

  • Requesting an extended child care leave (and this leave was not already included in your maternity leave letter)
  • Resigning and not returning to work. See more about returning to work

Parental leave

Parental leave is available following the 17 weeks of maternity leave, and extends time off up to 52 weeks if standard parental leave is selected or up to 78 weeks if extended parental leave is selected.

If you are taking parental leave and have included this leave with your maternity leave application, please refer to the parental leave timeline.

Extending Your Leave

There are two ways to extend your time off after you've used your maternity leave:

Extended child care leave

Regular employees can take this leave without pay at the end of their leave as long as they have not already taken the full 18 months of maternity and extended parental leave. The total combined leave can be up to 18 months. Send a written request to your supervisor at least 4 weeks before the end of your initial leave.  

Extended child care leave follows the same rules as a general leave without pay for benefits coverage and pension contributions.


Employees can also use vacation earned before their maternity leave to extend their time off work.