Maternity Leave for B.C. Government Employees
Birth parents 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're eligible for maternity benefits (for example, if your Main Agreement or Terms & 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 closer to your due date with written consent from your doctor or midwife. BCGEU, PEA, Queen's Printer/Unifor and excluded employees don't require written consent unless they're absent and not able to perform their full duties within the six weeks before the expected due date and would like to return to full duties.
If you're not eligible for maternity benefits (for example, if you're 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's 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 your supervisor of your upcoming leave. If you have any further questions, contact AskMyHR by submitting a service request using the category Myself > Leave & Time Off > Maternity, Parental, Adoption. 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're eligible for maternity leave benefits, submit the following documents to your supervisor.
- A note from your doctor or midwife stating your due date and the date to which you're physically fit to continue working (not required for BCGEU, PEA, Queen's Printer/Unifor or excluded employees).
- A letter stating the dates of your leave (the start date will always be the day after your last day of pay).
- Maternity, Parental, and Pre-placement Adoption Leave Application (PDF, 167KB).
Your supervisor will submit the documents through AskMyHR with a service request using the category My Team or Organization > Leave & Time Off > Maternity, Parental, Adoption.
If you aren't 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 the template: Letter to Supervisor Advising of Maternity, Parental or Pre-placement Adoption Leave (DOCX, 41KB).
If you're electing to start your maternity leave 13 weeks prior to your due date, you must notify your supervisor in writing at least 4 weeks prior to the start of your leave.
Before your maternity leave begins
- If you don't want to continue your benefits coverage, you must cancel it for the duration of your leave.
See Benefits, Pension, Vacation Accrual and Payroll Deductions.
- If you want additional taxes deducted from your maternity leave allowance, submit a TD1 form through AskMyHR with a service request using the category Myself > Submit a Form or Document > Direct Deposit/Tax Forms (TD1).
When your maternity leave begins
Apply for Employment Insurance. Payroll services will electronically submit your record of employment (ROE) directly to Service Canada.
The soonest an 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 an AskMyHR service request using the category Myself > Leave & Time Off > Maternity, Parental, Adoption after you receive your first EI payment. Include the following:
- 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.
If you can't access AskMyHR, send the information to your supervisor to submit for you.
After the birth
Update your medical and dental benefits, and your life insurance. You have 60 days from the birth of your baby to make changes to your Optional Life Insurance selections or to your flexible benefits options, if applicable.
Before your maternity leave ends
If you aren't 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 template: Letter to Supervisor Advising of Return to Work after Maternity, Parental or Pre-placement Adoption Leave (DOCX, 40KB). Also inform your supervisor if you're:
- Requesting an extension to your leave (and this leave wasn't already included in your maternity leave letter).
- Resigning and not returning to work. See more about returning to work.
Parental leave is available following the 17 weeks of maternity leave and extends time off of up to 52 weeks if standard parental leave is selected, or up to 78 weeks if extended parental leave is selected.
If you're 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 haven't 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.
- Look up your annual vacation entitlement.