Federal government will implement a new five-week parental leave benefit
Last week, the federal Families Minister tweeted that the federal government will implement a new five-week parental leave benefit three months sooner than scheduled.
Now effective March 2019, the new parental leave benefit will provide five additional weeks of Employment Insurance (EI) benefits when two-parent families, including adoptive and same-sex parents, agree to share some of the benefits. It was previously scheduled to become effective June 2019.
Parents currently share 35 weeks of paid leave and determine the amount of weeks that each is to take. The new benefit will provide parents up to 40 weeks of paid leave (paid at 55% of average weekly earnings), provided that the second parent claims at least five weeks of that time (the maximum for the first parent is 35 weeks). The additional five weeks will be a “use it or lose it” benefit top-up when both parents agree to share parental leave.
The federal government’s explanation for the enhanced benefit is to encourage a more balance sharing of child care responsibilities between parents and to provide greater flexibility, particularly to mothers, to return to work sooner, if they so choose.