Maternity leave and allowance

Last updated: November 26, 2021

If you’re the birth parent, you’re entitled to maternity leave of up to 17 consecutive weeks. 

You may be eligible for the Employment Insurance (EI) maternity benefit from the Government of Canada and maternity leave allowance from the BC Public Service.

The following information details:

  • When you're entitled to maternity leave
  • Your eligibility for maternity allowance
  • The steps you need to take to apply for leave and/or allowance

Please speak to your supervisor or contact AskMyHRRestricted Access if you have any questions.

Once maternity leave has concluded, the birth parent can immediately take parental leave. The 2 options are shown below.

Refer to Parental leave and allowance for BC Public Service employees for more information.

Maternity leave waiting period = up to 2 weeks
+
Maternity leave = up to 15 weeks (up to a combined total of 17 weeks)
+
Standard parental leave = up to 35 weeks (up to a combined total of 52 weeks)
+
Extended parental leave = up to 26 weeks (up to a combined total of 78 weeks/18 months)

Check your BC Public Service employment terms and conditions and agreements to confirm what maternity benefits are offered:

If you're an employee not eligible for maternity leave and allowance under the terms and conditions of employment or a collective agreement, your leave is per the Employment Standards Act.

If this applies to you and you are requesting maternity leave per the Employment Standards Act, you must:

Your supervisor submits the documents through an AskMyHRRestricted Access service request using the categories: My Team or Organization > Leave & Time Off > Maternity, Parental, Adoption.

For all employees considering maternity leave, review the important information about your benefits, pension, vacation accrual and payroll deductions while on maternity leave before you apply.

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.

You can choose to begin your maternity leave anytime up to 13 weeks before your expected date of birth.

You must notify your supervisor in writing at least 4 weeks prior to the start of your leave. If you apply for allowance, you must start your allowance whenever you decide to start your leave, unless you defer your decision to claim the allowance. The duration of your leave and allowance do not change based on when it starts.

Use the Maternity and Parental Leave Calculator (XLSM, 41KB) to help you determine the dates of your leave so that you are aware.

If you're absent because you are not able to perform your duties within 6 weeks prior to your expected date of birth and unable to return to work and perform full duties, you must start maternity leave at the beginning of your absence.

If you're within those 6 weeks and want to return to work from sick leave, your supervisor may require you to provide a doctor's note to clear you to return to work full-time/full-time duties.

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

If your baby is born early, you must begin maternity leave on the day the baby is born.

If you become ill before your leave begins, and within or prior to the 6-week period before your expected date of birth, contact AskMyHRRestricted Access to confirm your leave start date.

Submit a service request using the categories: Myself > Leave & Time Off > Maternity, Parental, Adoption.

This information is for eligible BC Public Service employees.

Before your maternity leave begins

  • If you do not want to continue your benefits coverage, you must cancel it for the duration of your leave. There's no option to cancel Employee Basic Life Insurance and long-term disability (LTD) coverage. Ensure you review Benefits, pension, vacation accrual and payroll deductions
  • To be entitled to maternity leave allowance, you are agreeing that you will return to work immediately after your leave ends and remain in the employer's employ for at least 6 months or the length of the leave you take, whichever is longer. If you do not, you will have to pay back the allowance and benefits you received

  • If you're unsure if you'll return after your leave, you may want to defer, or not take, the maternity leave allowance. Refer to Maternity leave allowance: information for BC Public Service employees

  • If you want additional taxes deducted from your maternity leave allowance, submit a TD1 form through an AskMyHRRestricted Access service request using the categories: Myself > Submit a Form or Document > Direct Deposit/Tax Forms (TD1)

At least 10 weeks before your expected date of birth

You

  • Notify your supervisor in writing of the expected date of birth in anticipation of your upcoming maternity leave
  • If you're electing to start your maternity leave 13 weeks prior to your expected date of birth, you must still notify your supervisor in writing at least 4 weeks prior to the start of your leave

At least 4 weeks before your expected date of birth

You

You will submit the following documents to your supervisor:

You should submit your documents as early as possible. The latest date by which you can submit is 4 weeks before your expected date of birth.

Your supervisor

Your supervisor will submit the documents through an AskMyHRRestricted Access service request using the categories: My Team or Organization > Leave & Time Off > Maternity, Parental, Adoption.

If you or your supervisor have any questions, contact AskMyHRRestricted Access by submitting a service request using the categories: Myself (or) My Team or Organization > Leave & Time Off > Maternity, Parental, Adoption

When your maternity leave begins

  • Apply for Employment Insurance on the Government of Canada website
  • Payroll services will electronically submit your record of employment (ROE) directly to Service Canada
  • The earliest an ROE can be issued is 5 days after the end of the pay period in which your leave started

After your first EI payment

If you choose to take the maternity leave allowance, submit an AskMyHRRestricted Access service request using the categories: Myself > Leave & Time Off > Maternity, Parental, Adoption.

Include the following:

  • 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
    • Start and end dates of your approved EI claim

If you cannot access AskMyHR, send the information to your supervisor to submit for you.

After the birth

Update your extended health 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.

One month before your maternity leave ends

Inform your supervisor, in writing, at least one month before the end of your maternity leave if:

 

Maternity leave allowance: information for BC Public Service employees

The maternity leave allowance supplements the amount you receive from Employment Insurance (EI) during your maternity leave.

Eligibility

You're eligible for the allowance if you're receiving EI benefits and are the following:

Amount

Benefit waiting period allowance

Employment Insurance may require a one-week waiting period before they process your first payment.

You will receive an allowance of 85% of your basic pay for the EI waiting period if:

  • You are required by Employment Insurance to serve a one-week waiting period for Employment Insurance Maternity benefits, and
  • You qualify for maternity leave allowance

The maternity allowance amount is calculated as follows:

85% of your weekly gross basic pay (weekly earnings)
minus
Employment Insurance (EI) weekly gross maternity benefit
minus
any additional earnings received
equals
weekly gross maternity leave allowance amount
(for up to 15 weeks)

Salary used to calculate the allowance

  • The allowance is calculated according to your base position, except if you're on a temporary assignment (TA)
  • Your allowance will be recalculated if your position's wage increases during your leave for certain reasons

If you're on a TA at the time of your leave:

  • Your allowance is calculated based on the salary stated in your TA letter
  • If your TA is scheduled to end during your leave and does end, your allowance is recalculated using the basic pay amount for your base position for the rest of your leave

If your earnings change at any time during your maternity leave:

  • You are required to report the earnings to both EI and your employer to avoid overpayment
  • Your allowance will be reduced dollar-for-dollar based on the earnings that are reported

Income tax implications

Income tax is deducted from maternity leave allowance and EI payments—you may want to discuss your personal tax situation with an independent financial adviser.

You can choose to have additional taxes deducted to cover the income earned from both sources.

Submit a federal TD1 form through an AskMyHRRestricted Access service request using the categories: Myself (or) My Team or Organization > Submit a Form or Document > Direct Deposit/Tax Forms (TD1) or by fax to 250-652-2155.

Remember to complete a TD1 when you return to work if you wish to discontinue having additional taxes deducted.

Not claiming, or choosing to defer, the allowance

If you're not sure you want to claim the maternity leave allowance for whatever reason, including that you have not decided if you’ll return to work after your leave, you may choose to defer the allowance.

You can defer the allowance up to the end of the return-to-work repayment period. The return-to-work repayment period is 6 months or the length of your leave, whichever is longer. Let your supervisor know if you choose to defer.

Refer to the Benefits while on leave or layoff page to learn about your benefits.

You'll be required to repay benefit premiums and any allowances you've received if:

Refer to Choosing not to return to work for more information.

Refer to Benefits, pension, vacation accrual and payroll deduction for further details on benefits repayment.


Have questions? Contact AskMyHRRestricted Access by submitting a service request using the categories: Myself (or) My Team or Organization > Pay > Allowances & Reimbursements.

Parental leave

Parental leave is available following the 17 weeks of maternity leave and extends time off of up to 78 weeks (18 months) for the birth parent.

On your application, you can select whether to apply for:

  • Up to 52 weeks as standard parental leave
  • Up to 78 weeks as extended parental leave

Once you have made your selection, you can provide your supervisor with notice if you wish to extend your leave (as long as it does not exceed 78 weeks in total) or return from your leave early.

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

Extended childcare leave

  • The total combined leave can be up to 78 weeks (18 months)
  • Regular employees can take this leave without pay at the end of their leave as long as they have not already taken the full 78 weeks (18 months) of maternity and extended parental leave
  • Send a written request to your supervisor at least 4 weeks before the end of your initial leave
  • Extended childcare leave follows the same rules as a general leave without pay for benefits coverage and pension contributions
  • More information about maintaining benefit coverage can be found on Careers & MyHR under Benefits while on leave or layoff

Vacation

Regular Bargaining Unit employees returning to work:

  • Retain seniority
  • Receive credit for seniority accumulated during the leave period

Auxiliary Bargaining Unit employees retain seniority and may be credited for hours they would have worked during the leave period.

At least one month before the end of your leave, inform your supervisor in writing, if you are resigning and not returning to work.

The start date of your leave will be deemed your date of resignation, if you do not return to work for the time period stated in your employment conditions and agreements.

Confirm your return-to-work time period requirements:

If you do not immediately return to work at the end of your leave or meet the time period requirements, you'll be responsible for repaying: 

  • Benefit premiums (both employee and employer portions) including:
    • Employee Basic Life Insurance
    • Long-term disability (LTD)
  • Applicable flexible benefits credits
  • Any allowances you received on a pro-rated basis

Employee Basic Life insurance and long-term disability (LTD) coverage are mandatory when you take maternity and/or parental leave. You cannot opt out of coverage. These benefits are maintained throughout the leave, even if you choose to waive extended health and dental coverage.

If you're re-employed at a later date, you'll still be responsible for repaying benefit premiums and allowances as above.

Refer to the next section: Benefits, pension, vacation accrual and payroll deduction for further details on benefits repayment.

  • Benefits in place before your leave will remain in place during the leave—but you can cancel extended health and dental coverage and any optional life insurance plans
  • If you're unsure about returning to work and want to minimize the repayment of benefits if you do not satisfy the return-to-work obligation, you may want to cancel your extended health and dental coverage
  • You must maintain Employee Basic Life Insurance and long-term disability coverage when you take maternity and/or parental leave. There is no option to waive this coverage
  • If you do not fulfil the return-to-work requirements, you'll have to repay any benefit premiums and/or flex credits paid on your behalf during your leave

Once you notify your employer that you're resigning, payroll will calculate your allowance and/or benefits overpayment and notify you in writing of the amount.

You must contact payroll to make arrangements for repayment. Contact information for payroll will be provided.

Cancelling benefits while on leave

Bargaining Unit benefits 

To cancel extended health, dental or any of the optional life insurance plans you do not wish to maintain, review How to update your coverage on the Benefits for Bargaining Unit employees page.

You must maintain Employee Basic Life Insurance and long-term disability coverage when you take maternity and/or parental leave. There is no option to waive this coverage.

Flexible benefits for excluded employees

To cancel extended health, dental or any of the optional life insurance plans you do not wish to maintain, refer to How to update your coverage on the Benefits for excluded employees page.

You must maintain Employee Basic Life Insurance and long-term disability coverage. There's no option to waive this coverage.

  • If you cancel coverage under the Flexible Benefits Program, you'll receive additional flex credits each month for the length of your leave, or until you reinstate coverage during Open Enrolment or as a result of an eligible life event
    • If you return from your leave in a new plan year, you will have the opportunity to make elections at that time and reinstate your benefits

    • If you return from your leave in the same plan year, you will have to wait until the next Open Enrolment or an eligible life event to reinstate your benefits

    • You will need to provide Evidence of Insurability for Flexible Benefits (PDF, 520KB) if you apply for optional life insurance for yourself and/or your spouse

  • These credits count as cash earnings and are recorded on your pay. You're responsible for reporting to Service Canada any monies paid or payable to you, cash or other, while receiving employment insurance, maternity or parental benefits
  • If you do not meet the return-to-work requirements, you'll be required to repay the flex credits and any other benefit premiums paid on your behalf

Continuing Optional Life Insurance coverage while on leave

Under the Employment Standards Act (Part 6), you can pay the premiums and maintain the Optional Life Insurance coverage if you:

  • Are not eligible for top-up allowance
  • Are taking the leave but not receiving any top-up allowance
  • Waive your top-up allowance
  • Defer your top-up allowance

The Optional life insurance plans include:

  • Optional Family Funeral Benefit
  • Employee Optional Life Insurance
  • Spouse Optional Life Insurance
  • Child Optional Life Insurance
  • Employee Optional Accidental Death & Dismemberment Insurance
  • Spouse Optional Accidental Death & Dismemberment Insurance
  • Child Optional Accidental Death & Dismemberment Insurance

Within 30 days of starting your leave, complete the Option to Continue Employee Benefits While on Employment Standards Act Leave of Absence Without Pay form (PDF, 305KB).

If you do not maintain your Optional Life Insurance benefits, they will be considered waived. When you return, if you return within 3 months (90 days) from the start of your leave, any optional life insurance plans will be automatically reinstated. If you return after 3 months (90 days) from the start of your leave, any optional life insurance plans that does not require evidence of insurability can be reinstated. You'll need to reapply for optional employee and/or spouse optional life insurance and provide evidence of insurability. The insurance will not be effective until the carrier approves the application.

Refer to Benefits while on leave without pay.

Submit forms through an AskMyHRRestricted Access service request using the categories: Myself (or) My Team or Organization > Benefits > Submit a Health Benefit Form/Application.

Vacation accrual

In most cases, your entitlement will be pro-rated according to your maternity and/or parental leave start date.

Your vacation entitlements and vacation pay continues to accrue. It will be credited once you've returned to work for a period not less than 6 calendar months if all 3 of these conditions apply:

  1. You return to work for a period not less than 6 months after being on leave
  2. You have not received parental allowance
  3. You were employed prior to March 28, 2001

OR:

  • You're covered under the Crown Counsel Agreement and return to work for a period not less than 6 months after being on leave

Pension

Pension contributions are based solely on the maternity, parental or pre-placement adoption allowance you receive while you're on leave. You can purchase the remaining service for your leave within 5 years of the end of your leave period or before termination of employment, whichever occurs first.

If you are not returning to work after the leave, and you want to purchase the service, the application must be made while on leave (and therefore an active member) in order to be eligible to purchase. 

If you do not apply to purchase a leave before terminating employment, you have lost the opportunity to purchase the service, even if you become an active plan member again.

Please note that if you have not gone on maternity leave yet and your baby is born early, you must notify us. Your maternity leave must start on the day that your baby is born. If you do not notify us, and your leave starts after your baby is born, this may impact your purchase of service.

Effective May 1, 2020, employees have the option to make continuous pension contributions monthly throughout their leave.

For more information, refer to the: 

Payroll deductions

To suspend contributions, submit an AskMyHRRestricted Access service request using the categories: Myself > Leave & Time Off > Deferred Salary Leave.

Deductions must commence once you return from your leave. Notify MyHR when you return from your leave to reinstate your deductions by submitting an AskMyHRRestricted Access service request using the categories: Myself > Leave & Time Off > Deferred Salary Leave.

If you have any questions, contact AskMyHRRestricted Access by submitting a service request using the categories: Myself > Leave & Time Off > Maternity, Parental, Adoption.

Maternity leave and allowance forms and tools
Sort by document title Type
Maternity, Parental, Pre-placement Adoption Leave and/or Allowance Application (PDF, 167KB) form
Federal TD1 (Canada Revenue Agency form) form
Letter to Supervisor Advising of Maternity, Parental or Pre-placement Adoption Leave (DOCX, 41KB) template
Letter to Supervisor Advising of Return to Work after Maternity, Parental or Pre-placement Adoption Leave (DOCX, 40KB) template
Maternity, Parental, Extended Child Care Leave Calculator (XLSM, 41KB) calculator

Option to Continue Employee Benefits While on Leave of Absence Without Pay or Layoff (PDF, 305KB)

form
Bargaining Unit Benefits Program Enrolment/Change form (PDF, 378KB) form
Flexible Benefits Enrolment/Change form (PDF, 423KB) form
Option to Continue Employee Benefits While on Employment Standards Act Leave of Absence Without Pay (PDF, 441KB) form
Evidence of Insurability for Flexible Benefits (PDF, 520KB) form