EI maternity and parental benefits: Eligibility

Do you qualify

The information below should be used as a guideline. We encourage you to apply for benefits as soon as possible and let us determine if you're eligible.

You need to demonstrate that:

  • you're pregnant or have recently given birth when requesting maternity benefits
  • you're a parent caring for your newborn or newly adopted child when requesting parental benefits
  • your regular weekly earnings from work have decreased by more than 40% for at least 1 week
  • you accumulated 600 insured hours of work in the 52 weeks before the start of your claim or since the start of your last claim, whichever is shorter
If you had a recent claim

If you received Employment Insurance benefits in the past 52 weeks, you may not be eligible to receive the maximum number of weeks of maternity or parental benefits.

However, if you've worked enough hours since your last claim, you may be able to start a new claim. Contact us to find out what's best for your situation.

If you get sick or require bedrest during pregnancy

If you have health complications during pregnancy, you could be eligible for sickness benefits or for maternity benefits earlier. You must meet the conditions for each benefit.

If you're not a Canadian citizen

If you have a valid social insurance number, you may be eligible for maternity and parental benefits.

If you plan to travel outside of Canada, contact Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada to find out how this may impact your situation.

Eligibility period

Maternity benefits

You can start receiving maternity benefits as early as 12 weeks before your due date or the date you give birth. You can't receive these benefits more than 17 weeks after your due date or the date you gave birth, whichever is later.

Parental benefits

You must take parental benefits within specific periods starting the week of your child's date of birth or the week your child is placed with you for the purpose of adoption.

These periods are:

  • Standard parental: within 52 weeks (12 months)
  • Extended parental: within 78 weeks (18 months)

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