Be Prepared: Maternity/Parental Leave Information for Employees

Date PublishedOctober 3, 2013
CompanyRenfrew Insurance Ltd.
Article AuthorDave Musgrave
Article TypeJune 2013 Issue
PULSE Interactive

Be Prepared: Maternity/Parental Leave Information for Employees

The question related to the treatment of Employees where Maternity / Parental Leave is concerned has recently become a “hot” topic of discussion. As such, I thought it best to produce a brief synopsis for your review and records.

Employment Standards ( provides an outline of the Employee and Employer legislated obligations and rights. In an effort to ensure clarity, I have broken this synopsis into two parts, Employee and Employer, followed by some general notes.



Employee must have worked 52 consecutive weeks with the current Employer in order to attain eligibility (note: see Human Rights Code at end of this section). This applies to both full and part-time Employees.

Maternity Leave can commence at any time within 12 weeks prior to the estimated delivery date. Parental Leave can commence at any time within 52 weeks of the adoption of a child.

Applicable Conditions Impacting Employee’s Maternity Leave:

  • Pregnancy interferes with job performance – If an Employee is entitled to both Maternity and Parental Leave, they must be taken consecutively.
  • Six weeks is the minimum time allocated following the birth of a child for Maternity Leave unless the Employer agrees to early resumption of duties. In an instance of early return, medical confirmation would be required.
  • Six weeks’ notice prior to commencement of Maternity/Parental Leave must be provided by an Employee. Shared Parental Leave must be indicated to an Employer with much the same conditions. The Employee must give four weeks written notice when they intend to end Leave. The Employee must provide four weeks written notice if they do not intend to return to work at the end of their Leave.


The Employer can require medical certification of pregnancy from the Employee. If an Employee fails to provide proper notice, the Employee is still entitled to the Leave provided notice is given within two weeks of commencement. An Employee taking Maternity Leave is not required to give her Employer notice before going on Parental Leave unless 15 weeks of Maternity Leave was agreed to previously.

Where an Employee fails to provide written notice (four weeks prior) to their intended return to work, the Employer is under no obligation to reinstate the Employee. An Employer cannot terminate an Employee on Maternity Leave unless suspension or termination of the business occurs. The Employee returning from Maternity/Parental Leave must be reinstated in the same/ comparable position with earnings and other benefits equal to Pre-Leave status.


It is extremely important to note that prevailing Human Rights Legislation requires Employers to accommodate health related items as a result of Maternity/Parental Leave to the point of undue hardship. The Human Rights Commission can be contacted directly at (403) 310-0000 or on the web at

Employment Insurance is a federal program providing income for Maternity/Parental Leave individuals as well as for those who are unemployed, ill, etc.

Please refer to the link below for further information:

Alberta law regarding Maternity Leave:

In Alberta, Employers are legally required to continue paying the health related part of Maternity Leave benefit premiums if they pay for Employee benefit premiums when their employees are sick.


Effective January 1st, 2013, changes were made to the taxability of some Employee Benefits. Below is a guideline related to the taxability of Employee Benefits for Canadian Employers/Employees:

Chart* No for all provinces and territories, except Yes for Quebec.
** Disability benefits are taxable if the employer pays any portion of the premium. If the employee pays the entire premium, the benefits are not taxable.


If you currently have an Employee Benefits program, your current insurer would have made you aware of the aforementioned items. With that being said, it is also the Broker’s responsibility to ensure you, the client, are aware of legislative changes. If you have questions related to these or other matters, please feel free to contact me directly via the advertisement in Issue4 on page 34.