There are some common facts that relate to all maternity and baby related benefits:
- All EI benefits have a 2 week waiting period.
- If the waiting period has been served within the previous 52 weeks, you will not have to serve it again.
- If the benefit can be shared with someone else, only 1 waiting period has to be served (so if mom receives sickness benefits or maternity benefits and serves the waiting period then the partner does not have to serve a waiting period).
- You must apply for benefits as soon as you stop working!
- You don’t need your record of employment to begin the process.
- If you wait longer than 4 weeks after your last day of work, you may lose your benefits.
- Your income must be reduced by more than 40%.
- You must have worked at a job or numerous jobs where Employment Insurance was taken from your cheque for at least 600 hours cumulatively in the last 52 weeks or since your previous EI claim, whichever is SHORTER!
- It can take up to 28 days to receive benefits.
- All benefit periods run from Sunday to Sunday. If you have your child/become ill on a Monday, your benefit period does not start until the following Sunday.
- Until August 1, 2015 after the waiting period has been served, you may work while on leave. If your earnings are less than 90% of the weekly earnings used to calculate your benefits, your benefits will be reduced by 50% of all earnings during that week. If your income exceeds the 90%, then your benefits will be reduced by 100% of your earnings.
- EI benefits are taxable!
- EI benefits are generally approx. 55% of your earnings up to a maximum of $514 per week.
Employment Insurance Sickness Benefit:
- A benefit for people who meet the above criteria and cannot work because of sickness, illness or quarantine.
- 15 weeks of benefits.
- There are a variety of ways that the two week waiting period can be waived or deferred, especially if you are receiving sick leave pay from your employer, or sickness and accident benefits from insurance benefits. Check with CRA to ensure that you are not serving a waiting period you do not have to serve.
- This would apply to a mother who is experiencing complications due to her pregnancy and was therefore unable to work.
- A benefit for all biological mothers including surrogates who cannot work because they are pregnant or have recently given birth.
- 15 weeks of benefits.
- Can begin up to 8 weeks prior to the due date.
- You cannot receive benefits past 17 weeks after your due date, OR the day you give birth, whichever is later.
- If your newborn is hospitalized, this 17 week period could
be extended by the number of weeks (s)he is in the hospital for, even if you received benefits prior to the birth of your baby up to a maximum of 52 weeks.
- A benefit for biological, adoptive or legally recognized parents (such as being on the birth certificate).
- 35 weeks of benefits.
- Can be shared between parents but cannot exceed 35
- Can be paid starting the baby’s date of birth.
- Can only be paid out during the 52 weeks after the baby is born or adopted.
- If your newborn is hospitalized, the 35 week period could
be extended by the number of weeks (s)he is hospitalized.
- A parent can return to work, work for a few weeks and decide that he or she should not have returned to work and then utilize the remainder or a portion of the remainder of the parental leave; however they cannot exceed the 52 week deadline.
- If a parent is in the military and deployed the 52 week deadline is extended to 104 weeks.
Parents of Critically Ill Children Benefits:
- A benefit for parents of a child under the age of 18 (can turn 18 after the certificate is issued) who suffers from a critical illness or injury.
- 35 weeks of benefits.
- Can be shared between parents but cannot exceed 35 weeks.
- You must submit a medical certificate filled out and signed by a Canadian specialist medical doctor.
- The 35 weeks must be utilized within 52 weeks of the date the medical certificate is issued, or if the claim is made prior to the certificate being issued, then from the date that the doctor certifies your child is critically ill or injured.
Compassionate Care Benefits:
- A benefit for a family member or close friend that you consider a family member who is gravely ill and has a significant risk of death within 26 weeks.
- You must be providing care or support to this person (providing psychological or emotional support, arranging for care by a third party or directly providing or participating in the care).
- 6 weeks of benefits.
- The weeks do not need to be consecutive.
- Can be shared.
- Must be used within the 26 week period.
- A doctor must provide a medical certificate.
All of this information was condensed from a variety of
Government of Canada websites. We tried to cover any benefit that could apply during the perinatal period; from the possibility of a complicated pregnancy, to the potential of a premature or sick baby. In the even that you need to use more than maternity and parental leave, please do more research or contact Service Canada to determine the best way to facilitate your situation.
By Angelina Quinlan Kiwanuka