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 or excluded employees can elect to take an extended parental leave of up to 63 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 is not 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 are taking 35 weeks or less.

You can defer the start of parental leave, as long as it begins within the 52 week period following the birth or adoption of the child. EI requires parental leave to conclude within 52 weeks for standard parental leave, or 78 weeks for extended parental leave following the birth or adoption of the child. 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.


Follow this timeline closely. Notify AskMyHR 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:

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, 740KB). 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 submit the letter or application through AskMyHR immediately. Send the birth certificate or adoption papers through AskMyHR as soon as they're available.

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, submit the following through an AskMyHR service request, or by fax 250 652-2155, after you receive your first EI payment:

  • 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

After the Birth or Adoption

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 in which to make changes to your flexible benefits options.

Before the End of Your Leave

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, 67KB). Also inform your supervisor if you are:

  • Requesting an extended child care leave (and this leave was not 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 2 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 their parental leave to extend their time off work.