New maternity, parental leave provisions begin May 1

Improvements part of comparability/pay equity settlement

Significant new maternity and parental leave provisions come into effect May 1 that include a supplemental benefits plan that increases pay for maternity leave to 85 per cent of basic pay, up to 75 per cent of pay for parental leave, and benefits continuation during specified leave periods. Details of the new provisions - which are part of the recent settlement of HEU's longstanding comparability/pay equity issue - are attached in new contract language for Article 35-Maternity and Parental Leave. HEU's secretary-business manager Chris Allnutt says the changes will bring HEU's maternity and parental leave provisions in line with those of BCGEU members in the direct public service. "These represent important gains that will give our members more economic security while they're dealing with the challenges and joys of maternity or parenting leave," he said. Significant maternity leave changes include:

  • leave starts six weeks before expected date of birth, which can be deferred for any period if approved by a qualified medical practitioner;
  • for employees eligible to collect employment insurance benefits, a new maternity leave allowance that includes two weeks of pay (the EI qualifying period) at 85 per cent of the employee's basic pay followed by 15 weeks top up of EI benefits to 85 per cent of basic pay;
  • full benefits continuation for the duration of the leave paid for the employer for medical, extended health, dental, group life and long term disability.

Important new parenting leave provisions following the birth or adoption of a child include:

  • up to 12 weeks leave, which can be extended subject to the provisions of the Employment Insurance Act for a further five weeks;
  • for employees eligible to collect employment insurance benefits, a new parental leave allowance for up to ten weeks top up of EI benefits to 75 per cent of basic pay;
  • full benefits continuation for the duration of the leave paid for the employer for medical, extended health, dental, group life and long term disability.

The leave allowances and benefit coverage are contingent on the employee returning to work for at least six months following their leave.

For more information about the new maternity and parental leave provisions, contact your servicing representative or local leaders.