Backgrounder: Parental sharing benefit

Backgrounder

Parental sharing benefit

Employment Insurance (EI) parental benefits are available to EI-eligible parents, allowing either parent to take time off work to care for a newborn or newly adopted child. The most common scenario in Canada, however, is the mother taking on the primary caregiving responsibilities. While the second parent may take on many household and caregiving responsibilities, child care duties continue to fall disproportionately to mothers, both in the short term following the arrival of their child, and over the longer term, often due to the challenges of re‑entering the workforce after time spent away.

Budget 2018 announced the Employment Insurance parental sharing benefit, which provides additional weeks of benefits to families when the parents of a newborn or newly adopted child share parental benefits. 

With the sharing benefit, parents selecting the standard duration of parental benefits could receive up to 40 weeks of parental benefits, an increase from the current 35 weeks. Neither parent could access more than 35 weeks in total, requiring both parents to take some time off in order to access some or all of the additional weeks.

Parents selecting the extended duration of parental benefits could receive up to 69 weeks of parental benefits, an increase from the current 61 weeks. Neither parent could access more than 61 weeks in total, requiring both parents to take some time off in order to access some or all of the additional weeks.

Both parents must choose the same parental benefits option (standard or extended). Benefits can be accessed at the same time or separately.

It will be available to parents who make a claim for parental benefits for children born or placed for adoption on or after the effective date.


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