EI Maternity and Parental Benefits - Overview
As of December 3, 2017, eligible pregnant workers will be able to receive EI maternity benefits up to 12 weeks before their due date. Parents can choose to receive parental benefits over a period of 12 months at the current benefit rate, or up to 18 months at a lower benefit rate.
EI maternity benefits are offered to biological mothers, including surrogate mothers, who cannot work because they are pregnant or have recently given birth. A maximum of 15 weeks of EI maternity benefits is available. Benefits can be paid as early as 12 weeks before the expected date of birth, and can end as late as 17 weeks after the actual date of birth. The weekly benefit rate is 55% of the claimant’s average weekly insurable earnings up to a maximum amount.
EI parental benefits are offered to parents who are caring for a newborn or newly adopted child or children.
There are two options available for receiving parental benefits: standard or extended.
- Standard parental benefits can be paid for a maximum of 35 weeks and must be claimed within a 52 week period (12 months) after the week the child was born or placed for the purpose of adoption. The weekly benefit rate is 55% of the claimant’s average weekly insurable earnings up to a maximum amount. The two parents can share these 35 weeks of standard parental benefits.
- Extended parental benefits can be paid for a maximum of 61 weeks and must be claimed within a 78-week period (18 months) after the week the child was born or placed for the purpose of adoption. The benefit rate is 33% of the claimant’s average weekly insurable earnings up to a maximum amount. The two parents can share these 61 weeks of extended parental benefits.
- You can choose to claim extended parental benefits only if your child was born or placed with you for the purpose of adoption on or after December 3, 2017.
The Province of Quebec is responsible for providing maternity, paternity, parental, and adoption benefits to residents of Quebec through a program called the Quebec Parental Insurance Program. All other types of EI benefits, such as regular benefits, sickness benefits, compassionate care and family caregiver benefits, remain available to residents of Quebec.
The number of weeks of EI maternity or parental benefits you are entitled to receive does not change, even if you have a multiple birth (twins, triplets, etc.) or if you adopt more than one child at the same time.
Self-employed Canadians can apply for EI special benefits (sickness, maternity, parental, compassionate care and family caregiver benefits) if they are registered for access to the EI program.
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