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Maternity/Parental/Adoption Leave


To take maternity/parental/adoption leave, an employee must give the employer at least four weeks written notice of both the date on which he/she intend to go on leave and the date on which he/she intends to return to work.

If an employee is taking both maternity and parental leave, she must taken them consecutively and cannot return to work between the two leaves unless the employer and employee otherwise agree.

The employer may allow the employee to return to work if the employee provides the employer with two weeks written notice of the intended date of return.

If an employer can prove the pregnancy would unreasonably interfere with the employee’s duties, the employer can require that employee take an unpaid leave of absence up to three months.

When an employee returns from maternity/parental/adoption leave, he/she must be accepted back into the same position or a comparable position with no loss of seniority of benefits.

Employees are eligible for this leave if they

a) are employed by the same employer in any 20 weeks of the 52 weeks prior to start of leave, and
b) are currently working for the same employer;

Effective 1 October 2010, an employee can extend their maternity, parental or adoption leave by an additional five consecutive weeks if the child has a physical, psychological or emotional condition requiring additional parental care.  This additional leave must begin immediately following the end of the maternity, parental or adoption leave.

Maternity Leave

Maternity leave is an unpaid leave of absence granted to pregnant employees which can last up to 17 weeks. The employee can start the leave up to 11 weeks before the expected date of delivery.   Employees who have worked for the employer 20 continuous weeks are eligible for this leave.

Parental Leave

The Employment Standards Act allows parents to take parental leave to care for their newborn child.  To qualify an employee must have worked for the employer 20 continuous weeks. Unpaid leave can be taken for up to 35 weeks.  

The total leave for maternity and parental leave for the mother cannot exceed 52 weeks. The total leave for parental leave for the father cannot exceed 35 weeks.

Adoption Leave

Adoption leave provides for 52 weeks leave. To qualify, an employee must have worked for the employer for 20 continuous weeks.  The combined adoption leave for both parents cannot exceed 52 weeks. Leave must be taken within 12 months of the child’s arrival in the home.

Reference:    Sections 18, 19, 20, 21 and 22

                  Employment Standards Act


This information is meant to serve as a guide only. The reader is strongly advised to consult the Employment Standards Act to view the legislation. Where any difference exists between this information and the Act, the Act will be considered correct.

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