Changes to Maternity and Parental Provisions

Date:

To: Heads of Human Resources, Directors/Chiefs of Labour Relations and Compensation, and Public Service Pay Centre, Miramichi


Introduction

This Information Bulletin provides clarification to departments and agencies of the core public administration (CPA) on important changes to maternity and parental provisions negotiated with certain bargaining agents in the context of the 2018 round of collective bargaining.

This document also includes information on how these changes will affect related benefits included in the collective agreements.

Changes to the Employment Insurance Plan

The changes to the maternity and parental provisions align with recent changes to the Employment Insurance (EI) Plan, which now provide parents:

  • the option to receive parental benefits at a reduced rate, but over a longer period of time:
    • Standard parental EI benefits: a maximum of 35 weeks within 52 weeks after the week the child was born or placed for the purpose of adoption; or
    • Extended parental EI benefits: a maximum of 61 weeks within 78 weeks after the week the child was born or placed for the purpose of adoption.

      and

  • the ability to receive extra weeks of EI parental benefits when they share benefits:
    • 5 extra weeks of parental benefits when choosing the Standard option; or
    • 8 extra weeks of parental benefits when choosing the Extended option.

Changes in the Collective Agreements

Key Changes

The changes to the maternity and parental provisions in collective agreements will allow employees to access the following new flexibilities:

  • Two options for parental leave without pay:

    • Standard Option: up to 37 consecutive weeks of leave without pay in the 52 week period

      or

    • NewExtended Option: up to 63 consecutive weeks of leave without pay in the 78 week period.
  • Two options for parental allowance (top-up) for employees under the EI Plan:

    • Standard Option: parental allowance (top-up) of up to 93% of an employee’s weekly rate of pay for a maximum of 37 weeks.

      or

    • NewExtended Option: parental allowance (top-up) of up to 55.8% of an employee’s weekly rate of pay for a maximum of 63 weeks.

  • NewExtra weeks of allowance (top-up) when employees share parental benefits:

    • Standard Option: Employees can share up to 40 weeks (5 extra weeks) of parental allowance (top-up).
    • Eligible employees who choose the Standard Option are entitled to a maximum combined, shared, maternity and Standard parental allowances (top-up) of up to 57 weeks for each combined maternity and parental leave without pay.

      or

    • Extended Option: Employees under the EI plan can share up to 69 weeks (8 extra weeks) of parental allowance (top-up).
    • Eligible employees who choose the Extended Option are entitled to a maximum combined, shared, maternity and Extended parental allowances (top-up) of up to 86 weeks for each combined maternity and parental leave without pay.

  • NewAmended formula for reimbursement of Extended parental allowance (top-up) proportional to allowance received.

  • NewGreater mobility for employees: the list of organizations for which an employee on maternity or parental leave without pay can return to work has been expanded to facilitate the return of the employee to any organization listed in Schedule I, Schedule IV or Schedule V of the Financial Administration Act.

Eligibility

These new provisions will apply to the following signed collective agreements and the excluded groups that follow the terms of these agreements:

  • Air Traffic Control – AI
  • Applied Science & Patent Examination – SP
  • Architecture, Engineering & Land Survey – NR
  • Audit, Commerce and Purchasing – AV
  • Economics and Social Sciences Service – EC
  • Electronics – EL
  • Financial Management – FI
  • Foreign Service – FS
  • Health Services – SH
  • Law Practitioner – LP
  • Radio Operations – RO
  • Research – RE
  • Ship Repair Chargehands – SR-C
  • Ship Repair East – SR-E
  • Ship Repair West – SR-W
  • Translation – TR
  • University Teaching – UT

The changes will also apply to the following unrepresented groups:

  • Personnel Administration - PE
  • Organization and Methods - OM
  • Program Administration - PM-MCO (sectors 1, 2, 3 & 4)

Effective Dates

In accordance with the negotiated Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with respect to the Implementation of the Collective Agreement, which is included in all the collective agreements listed above, the changes will be implemented as follows:

  • The new leave without pay provisions, and the changes to the list of organizations for which an employee on maternity or parental leave without pay can return to after their leave, are in effect as of the date of signing of the collective agreements.

  • All other changes outlined in this Information Bulletin will come into force on .

Residents of Quebec

Quebec residents are ineligible for maternity or parental benefits offered through the EI Plan as the province of Quebec administers its own maternity, parental, paternity and adoption benefits program through the Quebec Parental Insurance Plan (QPIP).

Please consult the Quebec Parental Insurance Plan for additional information.

However, Quebec residents are entitled to the following new flexibilities:

  • Two options for parental leave without pay:
    • Standard Option: up to 37 consecutive weeks of leave without pay in the 52 week period.

      or

    • NewExtended Option: up to 63 consecutive weeks of leave without pay in the 78 week period.

  • Parental Allowance (top-up):

    • Employees who apply for QPIP parental benefits will fall under the Standard parental allowance (top-up) provisions in the collective agreement (Option 1) and are eligible to receive up to 93% of their weekly rate of pay.

    • When two employees have shared the parental leave and have received 32 weeks of QPIP parental benefits and 5 weeks of QPIP paternity benefit, OR have shared 37 weeks of QPIP adoption benefits, and either employee thereafter remains on parental leave without pay, that employee is eligible to receive a further parental allowance for a period of up to 2 weeks at 93% of their weekly rate of pay.

    • NewEmployees under QPIP are entitled to a maximum combined shared maternity and Standard parental allowances (top-up) of up to 57 weeks for each combined maternity and parental leave without pay.

  • NewGreater mobility for employees: the list of organizations for which an employee on maternity or parental leave without pay can return to work has been expanded to facilitate the return of the employee to any organization listed in Schedule I, Schedule IV or Schedule V of the Financial Administration Act.

Provisions in effect as of the date of signing

Parental leave without pay can be taken over an extended period of time

Parental leave without pay applies when an employee has or will have actual care and custody of a newborn child, including the new-born child of a common-law partner. Parental leave without pay also applies when an employee commences legal proceedings under the laws of a province to adopt a child or obtains an order under the laws of a province for the adoption of a child.

Employees will have two options when applying for parental leave without pay:

  1. Standard parental leave without pay: a single period of up to 37 consecutive weeks in the 52 week period beginning on the day the child is born or comes into the employee’s care.

    or

  2. NewExtended parental leave without pay: a single period of up to 63 consecutive weeks in the 78 week period beginning on the day the child is born or comes into the employee’s care.

Notwithstanding the above, employees still have the option to take the Standard or Extended parental leave without pay in two periods, rather than in one single period.

Employees who choose the extended parental leave without pay and who are consequently absent for more than one year, will maintain their incumbents’ rights to their position as they would have if they had chosen the standard parental leave without pay option.

The option to take standard or extended parental leave without pay is available to employees who fall under the EI plan or the QPIP.

Individuals should review their options carefully and choose the option that best suits their needs.

Greater mobility for employees

Pursuant to the maternity and parental allowances provisions, employees in receipt of a maternity or parental allowance are required to sign an agreement promising to return to work for the employer on the expiry date of their leave without pay for a period equal to the period they were in receipt of maternity and/or parental allowance.

The “employer” was limited to Her Majesty in right of Canada as represented by the Treasury Board.

Under the new provisions of the above noted agreements, the list of organizations for the purposes of the return to work obligation has been expanded to any organization listed in Schedule I, Schedule IV or Schedule V of the Financial Administration Act.

Provisions in effect as of

Parental allowance (top-up) under EI can be received over an extended period of time and Employees who share parental benefits will be eligible to additional weeks of parental allowance (top-up)

Revised provisions are as follows:

  • Option 1 - Standard parental allowance (top-up):

    • Employees on parental leave without pay who have elected the Standard EI parental benefits (a maximum of 35 weeks) will receive a top-up to these benefits to 93% of their weekly rate of pay.

    • Where an employee has received the full 35 weeks of Standard EI parental benefits and thereafter remains on parental leave without pay, that employee is eligible to receive a further parental allowance for a period of 1 week at 93% of their weekly rate of pay, unless the employee has already received the 1 week of allowance contained under the maternity allowance provisions for the same child.

    • NewWhen sharing standard EI parental benefits, an employee is eligible for an additional 5 weeks of standard EI parental benefits for a total of up to 40 weeks. However, no employee can receive more than 35 weeks under the Standard option.

    • Where these provisions apply, when two employees have shared the 40 weeks of Standard EI parental benefits and either employee thereafter remains on parental leave without pay, that employee is eligible to receive a further parental allowance for a period of 1 week at 93% of their weekly rate of pay, unless the employee has already received the 1 week of allowance contained under the maternity allowance provisions for the same child.

    • NewEligible employees who choose the Standard Option are entitled to a maximum combined shared maternity and Standard parental allowances (top-up) of up to 57 weeks for each combined maternity and parental leave without pay.

  • NewOption 2 - Extended parental allowance (top-up) (applicable only to Employment Insurance Plan):

    • Employees on parental leave without pay who have elected the Extended EI parental benefits (a maximum of 61 weeks) will receive a top-up to these benefits to 55.8% of their weekly rate of pay.

    • Where an employee has received the 61 weeks of Extended EI parental benefits and thereafter remains on parental leave without pay, that employee is eligible to receive a further parental allowance for a period of 1 week at 55.8% of their weekly rate of pay, unless the employee has already received the 1 week of allowance contained under the maternity allowance provisions for the same child.

    • Employees sharing Extended EI parental benefits are eligible for an additional 8 weeks of Extended EI parental benefits for a combined total of up to 69 weeks. However, no employee can receive more than 61 weeks under the Extended option.

    • Where these provisions apply, when two employees have shared the full 69 weeks of Extended EI parental benefits and either employee thereafter remains on parental leave without pay, that employee is eligible to receive a further parental allowance for a period of 1 week at 55.8% of their weekly rate of pay, unless the employee has already received the 1 week of allowance contained under the maternity allowance provisions for the same child.

    • Eligible employees who choose the Extended Option are entitled to a maximum combined shared maternity and Extended parental allowances (top-up) of up to 86 weeks for each combined maternity and parental leave without pay.

Once an employee elects an option for EI parental benefits (either Standard EI benefits or Extended EI benefits) and has started receiving their EI benefits, the decision is irrevocable and cannot not be changed.

Amended formula for reimbursement of Extended parental allowance (top-up) proportional to allowance received

The formula for the reimbursement of the parental allowance (top-up) has been amended to account for those employees who choose the Extended parental allowance (top-up) option.

Where an employee elects the Extended parental allowance (top-up) and following their return to work, they will be required to work for a period equal to 60% of the period for which they were in receipt of the extended parental allowance (top-up) in addition to any period of time they were in receipt of maternity allowance (top-up).

When an employee does not fulfill their return to work obligation as required in their undertaking agreement, a calculation has been added to ensure that the repayment is proportional to the allowance (top-up) the employee received during their absence.

All questions should be directed to your Departmental Corporate Labour Relations or Corporate Compensation Official who, if required will direct their questions to the Compensation and Collective Bargaining Management group at the following email address: Interpretations@tbs-sct.gc.ca.

Original signed by Zia Proulx
Senior Director
Compensation and Collective Bargaining Management
Employment Conditions and Labour Relations
Office of the Chief Human Resources Officer

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