Parental Leave Allowance for B.C. Government Employees
Parental leave allowance supplements the amount you receive from Employment Insurance (EI) during your parental leave.
You're eligible if you're receiving EI benefits and are the following:
- A regular (full or part-time) employee
- An auxiliary employee eligible for benefits under your Collective Agreement or Terms and Conditions of Employment
For your parental top-up allowance, your options depend on which type of parental leave you're eligible for and elect to take.
BCGEU, PEA and excluded employees have access to the standard or extended parental leave top-up allowance options described below. Employees in other bargaining units don't have access to the extended parental leave option at this time. Employees are encouraged to speak to their union representative if extended parental leave and top-up allowance is of interest.
If you opt for the standard parental leave, the parental leave allowance amount is the difference between 75% of your basic pay and the Employment Insurance gross parental benefit plus any additional earnings received for up to 35 weeks. The allowance can be claimed either fully by one parent, or shared between two parents.
Please note: Should your earnings change at any time during your parental leave, you're required to report those earnings to both EI and the employer to avoid overpayment. Your allowance will be reduced dollar for dollar of the earnings that are reported.
If you opt for extended parental leave, your overall top-up allowance will be the same total value as if you had received the maximum 35 weeks allowance under the standard 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.
You may also decide to select the extended parental leave, but opt for the standard parental allowance. This may be of interest if you aren't intending on taking the full 61 weeks of extended parental leave.
Please note: Your choice for your top-up allowance is irrevocable. Once the standard or extended parental allowance is set, it can't be changed if you decide to return to work early.
Parental leave can begin any time within the 52 weeks for the standard parental leave or 78 weeks for the extended parental leave following the birth or adoption. However, EI and parental allowance benefits end 52 weeks for standard parental leave or 78 weeks for extended parental leave after the birth.
Benefit Waiting Period Allowance
EI requires a one week benefit waiting period between the time you apply for parental leave with EI and the time they process your first payment. There's no additional waiting period if you're sharing parental leave and your partner has already served the benefit waiting period.
If you qualify for parental allowance and are required to serve the waiting period, we provide an allowance of 85% of your basic pay for the waiting period.
Salary Used to Calculate the Allowance
The allowance is calculated according to your base position. If the position’s wage goes up during your leave, the allowance will increase. Check your Collective Agreement to find out what increases apply.
If you're on a temporary appointment (TA) at the time of your leave, you'll receive an allowance calculated on the salary stated in your temporary appointment letter. If your temporary appointment is scheduled to end during your leave, the allowance is recalculated using the basic pay amount for your base position for the rest of your leave.
Income Tax Implications
Income tax is deducted from parental leave allowance and Employment Insurance payments. However, you should consider your personal tax situation and discuss it with an independent financial advisor.
Not Claiming or Choosing to Defer the Allowance
If you're not sure you'll be returning to work after your leave, you may choose to defer or not apply for the parental allowance. You may defer your decision only up to the end of the return to work repayment period. Let your supervisor know if you choose to defer.
If you take the allowance, then resign at the end of your parental leave, or don't fulfill the back-to-work requirements of your Collective Agreement or your Terms and Conditions of Employment, you'll be required to repay benefit premiums and any allowances you've received.
Have questions? Contact AskMyHR.
See Returning to Work (or Not) for more information.
See Benefits, Pension, Vacation Accrual and Payroll Deduction for further details on benefit repayment. See your Collective Agreement for the period of time you're required to return to work.