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.

1. Overview

EI maternity benefits are offered to biological mothers, including surrogate mothers, who cannot work because they are pregnant or have recently given birth.

EI parental benefits are offered to parents who are caring for a newborn or newly adopted child or children.


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 parents of critically ill children (PCIC) 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 PCIC benefits) if they are registered for access to the EI program.

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