Parental Leave for B.C. Government Employees
Parents welcoming a new baby are entitled to standard parental leave of up to 37 consecutive weeks, or BCGEU, PEA, Legal Counsel or excluded employees can elect to take an extended parental leave of up to 63 consecutive weeks. Employees in other bargaining units don’t have access to extended parental leave options at this time, and employees are encouraged to speak to their union representative if extended parental leave is of interest.
If you're combining parental leave with maternity leave, then your parental leave entitlement is either 35 consecutive weeks if you select the standard parental leave option, or 61 consecutive weeks if you select the extended parental leave option, beginning immediately after the end of the maternity leave. Follow the steps for maternity leave, and then contact your supervisor to confirm your return to work plans (whether you are returning to work, taking extended child care leave if applicable, or resigning) one month before the end of your leave.
Where both parents are BC Public Service employees, they each qualify for the full amount of unpaid parental leave. However, you must split the 35 weeks (standard parental) or 61 weeks (extended parental) of top-up allowance between the two of you. Both parents are required to choose the same parental benefit option, either standard or extended.
Where the spouse isn't a BC Public Service employee and they apply to take extended parental leave through EI, the employee must indicate extended parental leave on the application form. This applies even if they're taking 35 weeks or less.
You can defer the start of parental leave if it begins within the 52-week period following the birth or placement for the purpose of adoption. EI requires parental leave to conclude within 52 weeks for standard parental leave, or 78 weeks for extended parental leave following the birth or placement for the purpose of adoption. Therefore, if any part of the leave falls outside the 52 weeks for standard parental leave, or 78 weeks for extended parental leave, there's no supplemental allowance for that portion. If you're only taking parental leave, follow the instructions below.
Before you apply, read the important information about your benefits, vacation, and pension contributions while on parental leave.
Parental Sharing Benefit
If your child is born or placed with you for the purpose of adoption on or after March 17, 2019, additional Employment Insurance (EI) Parental Sharing Benefits are available when both parents agree to share parental leave. The parental sharing benefit provides an additional five weeks when choosing the standard parental leave option or an additional eight weeks when choosing the extended parental leave option of Employment Insurance parental benefits when parents agree to share parental benefits and they qualify for EI.
Under the new parental sharing benefit, parents – including adoptive and same-sex parents -- choosing the standard (35 weeks) parental leave could receive up to 40 weeks of parental leave, provided that both parents agree to share the parental leave and that neither parent takes more than 35 weeks of the leave.
Parents choosing the extended parental leave (61 weeks) could receive up to 69 weeks of parental leave provided that both parents agree to share the parental leave and that neither parent takes more than 61 weeks of leave.
Employer provided parental leave top-up allowance is payable (upon proof of acceptance by EI) if the maximum allowable allowance hasn't already been paid if both parents are BC Public Service employees. Health benefits will continue; however, if you waive, are not eligible, or defer your top-up allowance and have optional life insurance coverage, read the important information about your benefits, vacation, and pension contributions while on parental leave.
Follow this timeline closely. Notify AskMyHR by submitting a service request using the category Myself > Leave & Time Off > Maternity, Parental, Adoption of your upcoming leave.
Before Your Parental Leave Starts
If you're eligible for parental leave benefits, submit the following documents to your supervisor at least one month before your leave.
- The Maternity, Parental, Pre-Placement Adoption Leave and/or Allowance Application (PDF, 167KB).
- A copy of the birth certificate or adoption papers (if the birth or adoption has already taken place).
- 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 an AskMyHR service request using the category Myself > Submit a Form or Document > Direct Deposit/Tax Forms (TD1).
If you're not eligible for parental leave benefits, but are requesting parental leave, submit a Sample Letter to Supervisor Advising of Maternity or Parental Leave (DOCX, 805KB). State the dates of your leave and submit a copy of the birth certificate. Parental leave cannot begin before the baby's birth or child's placement.
If the birth or adoption is in the future, submit your application to your supervisor to HOLD until they are advised of the birth of your child and the dates can be confirmed. Your supervisor will immediately submit the letter or application through an AskMyHR service request using the category My Team or Organization > Leave & Time Off > Maternity, Parental, Adoption.
Send the birth certificate or adoption papers, as soon as they're available, through an AskMyHR service request using the category Myself (or) My Team or Organization > Leave & Time Off > Maternity, Parental, Adoption. If you can't access AskMyHR, send the information to your supervisor to submit for you.
When Your Parental Leave Begins
Apply for Employment Insurance. Payroll Services will electronically submit your ROE directly to Service Canada. The soonest an ROE can be issued is 5 days after the pay period has ended in which your leave started.
After Your First EI Payment
If you choose to take the parental allowance, after you receive your first EI payment, submit an AskMyHR service request using the category Myself (or) My Team or Organization > Leave & Time Off > Maternity, Parental, Adoption. Include the following:
- Your name and employee number.
- Copy of your "My Latest Claim" EI page.
This 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 or Adoption
Update your medical and dental benefits and your life insurance plans. 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 Parental Leave Ends
At least 1 month before the end of your leave, inform your supervisor in writing of your intention to return to work. Use the Sample Letter to Supervisor Advising of Return to Work (DOCX, 44KB). Also inform your supervisor if you're:
- Requesting an extension to your leave (and this leave wasn't already included in your maternity or parental leave letter).
- Resigning and not returning to work. See more about returning to work.
Extending Your Leave
There are two ways to extend your time off after you’ve used your parental leave.
Extended Child Care Leave
Regular employees can take this leave without pay at the end of their parental leave as long as they've 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 leave.
Extended child care leave follows the same rules as a general leave without pay for pension contributions and maintaining benefits coverage.
Employees can also use vacation earned before or after their parental leave to extend their time off work.
- Look up your annual vacation entitlement.