In Ontario, women are entitled to return to their jobs after their pregnancy and/or parental leave. If you are facing issues regarding your return to work, you may need to speak with an employment lawyer.
Types of Leave
There are two types of leaves, parental leave and pregnancy leave. For both types of leave you must have been working for your employer at least 13 weeks before the start of your leave. For both types of leave you must give your employer at least two week’s notice. However, if you give birth prior to the date in your notice, your leave can start on that date.
Pregnancy leave is commonly referred to as maternity leave. Pregnancy leave can only be taken by a birth mother. Pregnancy leave is 17 weeks long. It must be taken before parental leave if you are going to be taking both leaves.
Parental leave may be taken by any parent (adoptive or biological) and it can be split between parents. Parental leave can be for a maximum of 61 weeks for a birth mother who also took pregnancy leave or 63 weeks for any other parent.
While on Leave
Your employer is not required to pay you while you are on leave. However, most employees will qualify for some form of benefits/partial wage payment from Employment Insurance. However, you are entitled to continue receiving benefits from your employer, and you are also entitle to have your time on leave count towards any seniority calculations.
There are a number of qualifications for getting Employment Insurance benefits while on leave that differ from your Employment Standards right to take leave. In order to get Employment Insurance Benefits while on leave you must have been working in insurable work (you will have seen deductions on your pay stub), you must have worked a minimum of 600 hours in the last year and your income must decrease by at least 40% while you are on leave. You must apply for Employment Insurance benefits on your own, your employer cannot submit your application on your behalf, but they may need to answer some questions or supply certain documents to verify your claim. The amount you receive depends on how much you were earning at your job.
There are two options for parental leave benefits, you can either take extended benefits over a period of 61 weeks or standard benefits for 35 weeks. Standard benefits are 55% of your wages to a maximum of $562 a week and extended benefits are 33% of your wages to a maximum of $337 a week.
Return to Work
After taking parental and/or pregnancy leave you are entitled to return to your job, (or a similar position). You cannot have your pay cut nor can you be disciplined for taking parental or pregnancy leave. If the pay for your job went up while you were on leave, upon your return you are entitled to receive the higher amount.
Taking time off work to grow your family can be very rewarding. There can also be a lot of challenges associated with taking time off which can lead to disputes between employees and employers. If you are experiencing difficulty, the best way to protect your rights is to contact an employment lawyer. At Mehdi Au LLP we have employment lawyers that can help you with your claim.
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