Frequently Asked Questions – Maternity & Parental Leaves

Introduction

Federal and provincial legislation protects an employee’s right to take a maternity leave and outlines the employer’s role in the administration of benefits during such a leave. The Catholic Independent Schools of Vancouver Archdiocese’s maternity leave policy is accountable to employment related legislation and at no time reflects rights that are less than those provided by federal or provincial legislation.

The information that will be provided within this document is held in compliance with the following governing bodies:

1. Employment Insurance (EI) 
EI website
2. Employment Standards Act (ESA)
3. Human Resources & Social Development Canada (HRDC)

This document provides details of benefit plans, but it is not a legal document. In the event of any conflict between the contents of this guide and the actual plans & contracts or regulations (as outlined by any applicable governing bodies), the provisions outlined in the latter will apply.

Overview of Benefits


Maternity benefits (as defined by EI)

Maternity benefits are only available to the person who is away from work because they’re pregnant or have recently given birth. They cannot be shared between parents.

The person receiving maternity benefits may also be entitled to parental benefits.

Benefit name Maximum weeks Benefit rate Weekly max
Maternity (for the person giving birth) up to 15 weeks 55% up to $562

If the actual date of birth is different from the expected date of birth, it is very important that you provide this date as soon as possible after the birth of your child. Please contact EI at 1-800-206-7218 from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm and press “0” to speak to a representative. This way they will be able to determine the most advantageous maternity period, in order to receive the maximum maternity benefits you are entitled to.

Eligibility: (Please refer to EI website for the most recent and updated information)

The information below should be used as a guideline. We encourage you to apply for benefits and let a Service Canada agent 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 one 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

*As an example, 600 hours are equivalent to 20 weeks of work at 30 hours a week.

Parental benefits (as defined by EI)

Parental benefits are available to the parents of a newborn or newly adopted child.

You must choose between 2 options:

  1. Standard parental benefits
  2. Extended parental benefits

Your choice determines the number of weeks and the weekly amount you’ll receive.

If sharing, each parent must choose the same option and submit their own application. Parents can receive their weeks of benefits at the same time or one after another.

Once you start receiving parental benefits, you cannot change options.

You can receive parental benefits within specific periods starting the week after your child’s date of birth or the date 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)

**Please check EI website for the most recent and updated information**

Terminology

Maternity Leave refers to the federally legislative leave provided to the biological mother at the time of the birth of a child. Maternity Employment Insurance (EI) benefits are payable to the birth mother for a maximum of 15 weeks.

Supplemental Unemployment Benefit (SUB) – aka: maternity “top-up” benefit refers to the supplemental wage-loss benefit support paid to only teachers and principals of the CISVA, by the local school as the difference between the Employment Insurance payable and 75% of gross salary. This benefit is payable upon the date of birth of the child. This benefit is not paid during the months of July and August as there is no wage-loss during that time.

Waiting Period refers to the 1 week period before Employment Insurance benefits begin to be paid. Generally this period is the first week of the EI claim.

If both parents share parental benefits, only one waiting period needs to be served. If a 1-week waiting period has been served for maternity benefits, the waiting period for parental benefits will be waived.

Employment Insurance

The basic rate used to calculate maternity and standard parental benefits is 55% of average insurable weekly earnings, up to a maximum amount. In 2019, the maximum amount is $562 a week.

For extended parental benefits, this rate is 33% of average insurable weekly earnings, up to a maximum amount. In 2019, the maximum amount is $337 a week.

Employment Standards Act

Labour standards legislation provides minimum entitlements for employees on maternity leave and states that an employee is entitled to an unpaid maternity leave. While on leave, the individual continues to be in an employee and upon return to work, the employer is required to reinstate the employee in the prior position or to an alternate comparable position.

Increments in salary are to be paid to the employee upon return to work as employees continue to accrue increments on the salary scale grid while on a maternity leave.

Pension and Benefits

The Employment Standards Act (ESA) also requires that when a member of a pension plan is required to make member contributions under the plan (as the pension plan of the Catholic Independent Schools of Vancouver Archdiocese), the member who takes a Maternity leave may continue to participate in and accrue benefits under the pension plan for the duration of the approved leave. Employer contributions will also continue during this leave, unless the member elects in writing (please refer to Waiver section found on the Maternity Leave contract) not to participate in the pension plan for the duration of the approved leave.

Under the Employment Standards Act (ESA), Group Insurance benefits also continue accordingly.

Employment Insurance (EI)



Who is eligible?

The information below should be used as a guideline. We encourage you to apply for benefits and let a Service Canada agent 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 one 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

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

How, where and when to apply

To receive maternity, parental or sickness benefits you must submit an EI application on-line or in person to your Service Canada Centre. You should apply as soon as you stop working, even if you receive or will receive money when you become unemployed.

You must request your Record of Employment (ROE) from your last employer. If you have your ROE from your last employer, apply immediately. If you did not receive your last ROE, submit your application along with proof of employment — for example, pay stubs. If one or more ROE covering periods prior to your last employment are missing, you must still submit your claim for benefits.

Generally, a ROE must be issued within five (5) calendar days of the interruption of earnings or the date the employer becomes aware of the interruption.

What information/documents are needed to apply?

  • your Social Insurance Number (SIN). If your SIN begins with a 9, you need to supply proof of your immigration status and work permit.
  • a Record of Employment (ROE) from each job held over the last 52 weeks. If you do not have your ROE after 14 days from your last day of work, you must submit proof of employment such as pay stubs;
  • personal identification such as your driver’s licence, birth certificate or passport if you are applying in person;
  • your complete bank information, as shown on your cheque or bank statement or a voided personalized blank cheque from your current account. This will ensure that your payment of benefits will be made directly to your bank account with Direct Deposit;
  • a medical certificate indicating how long your incapacity is expected to last, if you are claiming sickness benefits;
  • the expected or actual date of birth of your child, if you are claiming maternity benefits;
  • your newborn’s date of birth, or, when there is an adoption, your child’s date of placement, if you are claiming parental benefits. In the case of an adoption, you also need to provide the name and full address of the agency handling the adoption;
  • your detailed version of facts if you have quit or have been dismissed from any job in the last 52 weeks;
  • details regarding your most recent employment: Your total salary before deductions, your salary before deductions for your last week of work — from Sunday to your last day worked, gross amounts received or to be received, such as: vacation pay, pension, pay in lieu of notice or lay off and other monies.

The 1-week waiting period

You must serve a 1-week unpaid waiting period before your EI benefit begins to be paid. Generally, this period is the first week of your claim. This is like a deductible for any kind of insurance. On the other hand, if you reopen a claim for benefits in which you have already served a 1-week waiting period, you do not serve another 1-week waiting period.

How long can you receive maternity and parental benefits?

A combination of maternity and parental benefits can be received up to a combined maximum of 52 or 78 weeks.

How much will you receive?

The basic rate used to calculate maternity and standard parental benefits is 55% of average insurable weekly earnings, up to a maximum amount.

In 2019, the maximum amount is $562 a week.

For extended parental benefits, this rate is 33% of average insurable weekly earnings, up to a maximum amount.

In 2019, the maximum amount is $337 a week.

Benefit calculation

This is how EI calculate your weekly benefit amount:

  1. Add your insurable weekly earnings from your best weeks based on information provided by you and your Record of Employment
  2. Divide that amount by the number of best weeks based on where you live
  3. Then multiply the result by 55% for maternity and standard parental benefits or by 33% for extended parental benefits

If your family income is $25,921 or less

You may be eligible to receive the family supplement if:

  • your annual net family income is $25,921 or less
  • you have at least one child under 18
  • you or your spouse receive the Canada Child Benefit

Service Canada automatically adds your family supplement to your weekly benefit payments. You don’t need to take any action. Your total weekly amount cannot exceed $562.

Supplemental Unemployment Benefit (Aka: Maternity “Top-Up” Benefit)

Note: (1) ALL CISVA employees are eligible for this benefit
  (2) this benefit is only available to the biological mother
  (3) this benefit is not payable during the period the eligible employee may be receiving post-delivery, Short- term disability benefits (for a 4 or 6 week period)

Eligibility requirements & Benefit Calculations

This benefit is available to ALL CISVA who meet the Employment Insurance Regulations, as it forms part of these employees’ compensation package.  The benefit is provided to assist employees who experience a wage-loss as of the date of birth of her child.  Please note that if the employee is receiving post-delivery, Short-term disability benefits, the top-up benefit is not payable during that 4 or 6 week period.

The benefit requires that each CISVA school provide additional financial support to ALL CISVA employees who are on approved maternity leave by supplementing the standard EI maternity benefit.  The school’s financial support increases the standard EI benefit from 55% (EI rate) to 75% for a period of 6 to 15 weeks according to the information provided by the attending physician on the Maternity Leave Medical Report.

A sample calculation of the SUB formula is as follows:

Formula:

  • Gross annual salary ÷  52 wks (per EI regulations) = gross weekly earnings
  • Gross weekly earnings x 75% = maximum amount that the CISVA employee can receive between EI and the school for the 6-15 week period
  • The calculation for gross weekly EI benefit =  gross weekly earnings x 55%, up to a maximum benefit of $562
  • Total SUB paid by school: the sum of Item 2 minus (–) sum of Item 3 = payable top-up amount

EXAMPLE:

1. CISVA employee delivers and experiences wage-loss during the said year (Sept. 1 – June 30)
 Regular gross salary: $49,082.00
 Gross weekly salary: $49,082 divided by 52 weeks = $943.88
 75% of gross weekly salary = $707.91
 Gross EI benefit (max is $562) = $519
 The amount payable as “top-up” per week
(75% Weekly salary – EI benefit)
= $188.91

Please note that this is a taxable benefit; therefore, it will be reflected in your T4 form.  As a result, this benefit is subject to CPP contribution deductions.

This benefit is not payable during the months of July and August as there is no wage-loss during this time.

Registered Pension Plan (RPP)

As required by legislation, pensionable service for a member in the Registered Pension Plan (RPP) of the CISVA will continue to accrue during the approved Maternity leave provided the member indicates in writing that she will continue to make contributions under the plan. Employer contributions to the RPP will also continue during this time.

It is the employee’s responsibility to ensure that they are always adhering to any regulations as it pertains to the Canadian Income Tax Act. The most that an individual can contribute to their RPP is the lesser of 18% of “earned income” for the current year, to the Annual Contribution Limit set by Revenue Canada.

For your purposes, generally speaking, earned income includes a taxpayer’s income (earned while the taxpayer was resident in Canada) from the following:

  • income earned from employment reported on a T4 slip (including maternity top-up payments for eligible CISVA employees)

It is important that the employee takes the necessary steps to ensure that she doesn’t over-contribute to the RPP for the applicable tax year.

Contributions are based on the amount of employment income at the date the approved leave begins and are paid in regular monthly payments during the leave. Pension contributions must be completely paid before the leave is completed or the ability to contribute will be lost.

Employees of the CISVA must complete a Maternity Leave Contract and sign-off on the applicable waiver (located on page 2) if the employee wishes to suspended their RPP contributions during their maternity leave.

RPP contributions must be reinstated on the employee’s return to work.

Group Insurance Benefits

During maternity leave, the employee shall be entitled to the following benefits providing (1) she was normally entitled to such benefits and (2) she pays her share of premiums:

  1. Life insurance, Accidental Death & Dismemberment, Short-term and Long-term disability
  2. Extended Health, Dental and Critical Illness benefits
  3. Pension
  4. Medical Service Plan (MSP)

The aforementioned benefits shall continue uninterrupted during the period of time the employee is on maternity and/or parental leave provided that the employee makes arrangements prior to commencing the leave to pay their share of the benefit premiums for that.

IMPORTANT: Prior to commencing the leave, the employee must provide their employer with post-dated cheques to cover the costs of their portion of the benefit expenses.

Post-delivery, Recovery Benefit (Maternity STD Benefits)

What are post-delivery, recovery benefits?
What are post-delivery, recovery benefits?

Our Short-term Disability (STD) plan now covers the part of maternity leave that the biological mother would not be able to work due to pregnancy and childbirth health-related reasons.  While a woman is on maternity leave, there may be a period of time during which she may be unable to work due to the physical demands of pregnancy and childbirth.   As a result, there is now the provision of disability coverage during the recovery portion of maternity leave for eligible employees:

Our STD plan has expanded its benefits for disability following childbirth in the following format:

  1.  Childbirth by regular delivery: 4 week benefit
  2.  Childbirth by c-section: 6 week benefit

These periods reflect the handling of such claims with current normal convalescence periods.

Who is eligible to receive this benefit?

This continues to be an STD benefit. Therefore, the expansion in the STD benefit is made available to all eligible employees (expectant mothers) who are eligible to apply for STD benefits. The employee would need to be actively participating in either one of the following two benefit classes:

  • Benefit Class 1: Permanent Full-time and Part-time employees
  • Benefit Class 2: 1-year contract employees

There is no termination age associated with STD benefits providing you continue to be: an insurable employee, actively at work, and meet the definition of disability.

When is this benefit payable?

Even though this benefit is available to eligible employees for a period of 4 or 6 weeks (as of the date of birth of the newborn child), our group STD plan still retains a 7 consecutive-day waiting period. As a result, the post-delivery, recovery benefit is payable for the following two periods:

Type of Birth Benefit Period *  STD Waiting Period Payable Benefit
Regular delivery 4 weeks 7 consecutive days 3 weeks
C-section delivery 6 weeks  7 consecutive days 5 weeks

* If the employee is currently on STD benefits due to pregnancy-related complications, then it’s likely that the STD waiting period has been satisfied. In these cases, this benefit is now payable as of the date of birth of the newborn child.

How are these claims assessed?
These claims are assessed in the exact same manner as any other STD claim.

  1. The employee must be enrolled in the applicable benefit class.
  2. The employee must meet the definition of disability.
  3. The benefit is payable at 66.67% of weekly earnings.
    1. STD payments are paid weekly in arrears by the disability office.
  4. There is a consecutive day waiting period from the date of birth of the newborn until the first day payable for disability.
  5. The Short-term disability claim forms must be completed in full:
    1. The Employee Statement (including the Attending Physician’s Statement)
    2. The Employer Statement
    3. Both of these forms must be completed in full and returned to the Benefit Administration Office for co-ordination with the disability office.
Sample benefits calculation

Sample benefit calculation (employee is paid over a 10 month/43-week period, earning $55,000/year):

  • Baby is born on January 5th
  • Baby is born by c-section.
  • In this example, STD benefits are payable for a 6-week, post-delivery period.

Gross Annual Salary ÷ No. of weeks work per year = STD-maternity benefit amount

Employee is eligible for  STD benefits from January 5th to February 16th
(43-week formula)
– Regular gross annual salary: $55,000.00
– Gross weekly salary: $55,000 divided by 43 weeks = $1,279.07
– STD benefit applied at 66.67%.  Benefit payable weekly, in arrears. = $853.00

This is a non-taxable benefit to the employee.  Therefore, no T4A will be issued.

What if the employee was already on STD for pregnancy-related complications?

If the employee was previously approved for STD benefits, then the post-delivery, recovery benefit is simply an extension of the existing claim. STD benefits will continue to be paid for 4 or 6 weeks after the date of birth of the newborn (depending on the type of delivery).
Contractually, does this mean that the employee's official maternity leave is extended?
No, the employee’s official maternity leave is not extended beyond the agreed period of time specified in the employee’s Maternity Leave Contract.

The employee will not receive 1 year and 4 weeks (due to childbirth by regular delivery) of maternity leave. The employee will not receive 1 year and 6 weeks (due to childbirth by c-section) of maternity leave.

The post-delivery, recovery (STD) benefit is simply payable within the existing period of the approved maternity leave.

What happens with the maternity benefits offered through Employment Insurance (EI)?

EI, maternity leave, must start no later than the expected or actual week of childbirth; however, an employee is able to start their maternity leave up to 8 weeks prior to the expected date of delivery. If the employee chose to start the maternity leave early then they would still be eligible for the STD paid, post- delivery period.

STD benefits would be payable for the post delivery period (4 weeks for normal uncomplicated delivery and 6 weeks for a Cesarean section – less the 7 day waiting period).

Please note that EI Benefits are not payable during the period that STD benefits are paid. As our group benefits plan benefits from an EI reduced rate (due to the fact that we offer disability benefits), EI will “offset” any payment that you receive through STD benefits. EI reduces its benefit in the amount paid under the group disability plan. Therefore, employees will not receive full payable benefits under both EI and the STD benefit.

Once the STD benefit is exhausted, then EI will pay the employee (providing that the employee is eligible to receive EI benefits).

Maternity/Parental benefits are limited to a combined period of 52 or 78 weeks. If the employees receives post-delivery STD benefits (4 or 6 weeks minus the 1 week waiting period), then EI’s payable benefit is cut-back.

Note: if the employee starts maternity EI benefits prior to the DOB of the child, the local Employer will need to make note on the employee’s Record of Employment (ROE) that the employee may be eligible for post-delivery STD benefits. After that, EI will follow-up accordingly with the employee.

How is the top-up benefit managed while an employee is receiving STD benefits?

Note: (1) only Teachers & Principals of the CISVA are eligible for this benefit
  (2) this benefit is only available to the biological mother

This benefit is available to eligible employees, for a period of 6-15 weeks, as of the date of birth of the newborn child. The period of payable “top-up” benefit is dependent on the information provided by the physician on the Maternity Leave Medical Report.

Please note that “top-up” is not payable during the time that the employee is receiving payment through the post-delivery, recovery STD benefits. The reasons are as follows:

  1.  The STD benefit is considered to be the first payor in providing a wage-loss benefit as it’s a system-wide benefit to eligible employees.
  2. EI is the secondary payor; however, EI will suspend any EI payments during the period the claimant is receiving STD benefits.
    1. As the CISVA has an EI reduced plan, EI will “offset” the STD benefit from the EI calculation.
    2. Top-up is also contingent on EI’s approval of the claim.
  3. The employee receives more than 75% of weekly earnings due to the difference in calculations using 43-week formula (STD) versus the 52-week formula (EI).

See below:

(A) Example of a top-up calculation:

Jane Doe – Teacher within the CISVA

  • Jane’s baby is born on January 1st
  • 6-15 week top-up benefit. Payable if:
    • Employee is Teacher or Principal of CISVA
    • EI has approved maternity leave
    • In this example, we’ll say that Jane would have been eligible for top-up for a 15-week period (per her doctor’s recommendation).

Gross Annual Salary ÷ 52 weeks x 75% = 75% of gross weekly salary

75% of gross weekly salary – Gross EI Benefit = Top-up benefits

Jane is eligible for top-up from January 1st  to April 14th
(52-week formula – EI’s formula)
– Regular gross annual salary: $71,407.00
– Gross weekly salary: $71,407 divided by 52 weeks = $1,373.22
– 75% of gross weekly salary = $1,029.92
– Gross EI benefit (max is $562) = $537
– Amount payable as “top-up” per week
(75% Weekly salary – EI benefit)
= $492.92
This is the amount that the employee would receive as a combined, taxable income, through EI and the top-up benefit ($537 + $492.92 = $1,029.92) $1,029.92

(B) Example of an approved STD post-delivery, recovery benefit:
Jane Doe – Teacher within CISVA

  • Jane’s baby is born on January 1st
  • The baby is born by c-section.
  • In this example, STD benefits are payable for a 6-week post-delivery period (minus the 7 consecutive day waiting period).
Jane is eligible for STD benefits from January 1st to February 11th
(43-week formula – STD formula)
– Regular gross annual salary: $71,407.00
– Gross weekly salary: $71,407 divided by 43 weeks = $1,660.63
– STD benefit calculated at 66.67% of the gross weekly earnings. This is a non-taxable benefit to the employee. = $1,107.00
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