Parental leave and allowance

Last updated: November 26, 2021

Parental leave is available to parents of a newborn or newly adopted child.

There are 2 options:

  • Standard parental leave (up to 37 consecutive weeks)
  • Extended parental leave (up to 63 consecutive weeks)

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

The following information details:

  • When you're entitled to parental leave
  • Your eligibility for parental 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.

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

If you're an employee not eligible for parental 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 parental 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 parental leave, review the important information about your benefits, pension, vacation accrual and payroll deductions while on parental leave before you apply.

Parents welcoming a new baby are entitled to parental leave of up to 63 consecutive weeks.

If you're combining parental leave with maternity leave, follow the steps for maternity leave, then contact your supervisor one month before the end of your leave to confirm your plan to either:

  • Return to work
  • Extend your leave, if applicable
  • Resign

Where both parents are BC Public Service employees, they each qualify for the full amount of unpaid parental leave. Both parents are required to choose the same parental allowance option, either standard or extended, if they are sharing the allowance.

However, the parental top-up allowance will not exceed 35 weeks (standard parental) or 61 weeks (extended parental) between both parents.  You must decide if the top-up allowance will be split or if one parent will receive the top-up allowance for all the weeks.

Where the spouse is not a BC Public Service employee and they apply to take extended parental benefits through Employment Insurance (EI), the employee must indicate extended parental leave on the Maternity, Parental, Pre-placement Adoption Leave and/or Allowance Application (PDF, 167KB). This applies even if they're taking 35 weeks or less of leave.

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 you last day of pay be a Saturday, if possible.

The birth parent can start parental leave immediately following the conclusion of their maternity leave.

The non-birth parent can start parental leave immediately following the birth or placement of the adoptive child. Parental leave cannot begin before the baby’s birth or child’s placement.

The start of parental leave can be deferred by mutual agreement. However, the leave must begin within a 78-week period following the birth or placement of the adoptive child.

Under Employment Insurance, you can receive parental benefits within a specific period starting the week after your child’s date of birth or the date your child is placed with you for the purpose of adoption. The periods are:

  • Standard parental: within 52 weeks (12 months)
  • Extended parental: within 78 weeks (18 months) 

Therefore, if any part of the leave falls outside the 52 weeks for standard parental allowance, or 78 weeks for extended parental allowance, there's no supplemental allowance for that portion.

When parents agree to share parental benefits, and they qualify for Employment Insurance (EI), the parental sharing benefit provides an additional amount of leave for the non-birth parent:

  • 5 weeks for the standard parental leave option
  • 8 weeks for the extended parental leave option

Sharing parental leave

Benefit name

Maximum weeks

Benefit rate

Standard parental

Up to 40 weeks, but one parent cannot take more than 35 weeks of standard leave.

55%*

Extended parental

Up to 69 weeks, but one parent cannot take more than 61 weeks of extended leave.

33%*

*up to a weekly maximum

If both parents are BC Public Service employees, the parental leave allowance is payable (upon proof of acceptance by EI) if the maximum allowable allowance has not already been paid:

  • 35 weeks for standard parental
  • 61 weeks for extended parental

 

Parental sharing benefit*

No parental sharing benefit

Maternity leave waiting period = 2 weeks
+

Maternity leave waiting period = 2 weeks
+

Maternity leave = 15 weeks
+

Maternity leave = 15 weeks
+

Sharing: standard parental leave = 35 weeks + 5** weeks parental sharing benefit
OR

Standard parental leave = 35 weeks
+

Sharing: extended parental leave = 61 weeks + 8*** weeks parental sharing benefit

Extended parental leave = 26 weeks

* To be eligible for parental sharing benefits, both parents must share Employment Insurance parental benefits.

** If both parents are sharing the standard parental leave, they can receive up to 40 weeks, but one parent cannot receive more than 35 weeks of standard benefits.

 *** If both parents are sharing the extended parental leave, they can receive up to 69 weeks, but one parent cannot receive more than 61 weeks of extended benefits.

This information is for eligible BC Public Service employees.

Before your parental 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 parental 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 parental leave allowance. Refer to Parental leave allowance: information for BC Public Service employees
  • If you want additional taxes deducted from your parental 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 4 weeks before you start your leave

You

Submit the following documents to your supervisor:

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 parental 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 parental 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 or adoption

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 parental leave ends

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

 

Parental leave allowance: information for BC Public Service employees

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

There's no waiting period if you're sharing parental leave and the other parent has already served the benefit waiting period.

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

  • You're required by Employment Insurance to serve a one-week waiting period for Employment Insurance Parental benefits, and
  • You qualify for parental leave allowance

You have the option of selecting either standard or extended parental leave allowance.

The allowance can either be claimed fully by one parent or shared between two parents. 

If the allowance is shared, both parents must choose the same allowance, either standard or extended.

Employees taking standard parental leave can only take standard parental allowance as they can only apply for standard parental benefits with Employment Insurance.

Employees taking extended parental leave can apply for standard or extended parental benefits with Employment Insurance.

If the employee, or employee sharing with their spouse, are not intending on taking the full 61 weeks of extended parental benefits, it may be of interest for them to take the standard parental benefit, as the parental benefit through Employment Insurance and the parental allowance are based on 61 weeks and will not be pro-rated any further.

Your choice for your top-up allowance is irrevocable. Once the standard or extended parental allowance is set, it cannot be changed, even if you decide to return to work early or extend your leave.

Parental leave can begin any time within 78 weeks following the birth or adoption.

However, EI and parental allowance benefits end:

  • 52 weeks for standard parental leave after the birth
  • 78 weeks for extended parental leave after the birth

Standard parental allowance

If you applied for standard parental benefits with Employment Insurance and you're receiving the 55% benefit rate (to a weekly maximum), the weekly parental leave allowance is calculated as follows:

75% of your weekly gross basic pay (weekly earnings)
minus
Employment Insurance (EI) weekly gross parental benefit
minus
any additional earnings received
equals
weekly gross parental leave allowance amount
(for up to 35 weeks)

For example:

  • Your weekly gross salary is $1,093
  • You apply for standard parental benefits with Employment Insurance, and claiming standard leave allowance, and receive $573 weekly
  • You apply to receive standard parental leave allowance for up to 35 weeks
  • $1,093 x 75% = $819.75 – $573 (55% benefit rate) = $246.75 weekly for up to 35 weeks

If you apply for extended parental benefits with Employment Insurance, but claiming standard leave allowance, and you receive the 33% benefit rate (to a weekly maximum), the weekly parental leave allowance is calculated as follows:

75% of your weekly gross basic pay
minus
Employment Insurance (EI) weekly gross parental benefit you would receive if you had applied for Standard Parental Leave (55% benefit rate)
minus
any additional earnings received
equals
weekly gross parental leave allowance amount
(for up to 35 weeks)

For example:

  • Your weekly gross salary is $1,093
  • You apply for extended parental benefits with Employment Insurance and receive $344 weekly
  • You apply to receive standard parental leave allowance for up to 35 weeks. Your allowance is calculated using what Employment Insurance would have paid you at the 55% benefit rate which is $573
  • $1,093 x 75% = $819.75 – $573 (55% benefit rate) = $246.75 weekly for up to 35 weeks

Extended parental leave

If you opt for extended parental allowance and take 61 weeks of parental leave, your overall top-up allowance will be the same total value as if you had received the standard parental allowance over 35 weeks of parental leave.

The weekly amount will be calculated by dividing the total amount by 61 weeks to determine your lower weekly amount to be paid over the extended leave period.

75% of your weekly gross basic pay
minus
Employment Insurance (EI) weekly gross parental benefit you would receive if you had applied for Standard Parental Leave (55% benefit rate)
minus
any additional earnings received
multiply
35 weeks
divided by
61 weeks
equals
weekly gross parental leave allowance amount
(for up to 61 weeks)

For example:

  • Your weekly gross salary is $1,093
  • You apply for extended parental benefits with Employment Insurance and receive $344 weekly
  • You apply to receive extended parental leave allowance for up to 61 weeks. Your allowance is calculated using what Employment Insurance would have paid you at the 55% benefit rate, which is $573
  • $1,093 x 75% = $819.75 – $573 (55% benefit rate) = $246.75 weekly x 35 weeks = $8,636.25/61 weeks = $141.58 weekly for up to 61 weeks

The allowance is not pro-rated by the number of weeks you take for parental leave; therefore, it would be more beneficial for you to take the standard parental leave allowance if you're not taking the full 61 weeks of parental leave.

For example, based on the above calculation, if you only took 50 weeks you would only receive $141.58 for 50 weeks. The $8,636.25 would not be divided by 50 weeks. It will still be divided by 61 weeks.

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

Salary used to calculate the allowance

  • The allowance is calculated according to your base position, except if you're on a temporary appointment (TA)
  • Your allowance will be recalculated if the 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 parental leave: 

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

Income tax implications

Income tax is deducted from parental 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 parental 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.

 

Extending your parental leave

There are 2 ways to extend your time off after you’ve used your parental leave.

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.​

Parental 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, 12KB) 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