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 parental leave, the time off work can add up to 52 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 six weeks before your expected due date. You can also 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 six-week period before your due date, contact us to confirm your leave start date.

Timeline

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 (PDF, 265KB).

Before your maternity leave starts

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 AskMyHR after your first EI payment:

  • Your name and employee number
  • A 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.

Before your maternity leave ends

If you are not taking parental leave and are returning to work, inform your supervisor in writing at least one month before the end of your maternity leave. Use the Sample Letter to Supervisor Advising of Return to Work (PDF, 168KB). 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 you are taking parental leave and have included this leave with your maternity leave application, please refer to the parental leave timeline.

Extending Your Maternity 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 conclusion of their maternity leave. The total combined leave can be up to 18 months. Send a written request to your supervisor at least four 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.

Vacation

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