Starting a family is an exciting time filled with change. Staying up-to-date with the right paternity leave legislation is not only your legal responsibility but supporting new parents with their new dual role will help strengthen your relationship with your staff.
So, what rules do you need to follow for new parents?
Let’s start with eligibility...
Eligibility for Parental leave
Eligibility requirements vary across Canadian jurisdictions. For that reason, your employee may be entitled to parental leave if:
- The employee has completed a minimum service period, or
- From the moment employment begins.
Your employee must be one or more of the following:
- The birth parent, or
- The adoptive parent of a recently adopted child, or
- The intended parent of a child they will treat as their own (e.g. in Ontario).
Bear in mind, employees must give you previous written notice of their parental leave request.
So, now you know who is entitled to paternity leave but how long will your employees be off for?
Parental leave entitlement
Paternity leave falls under parental leave in Canada. Depending on your jurisdiction, employees can get up to 69 weeks off starting after the child is born or comes into their care.
Canada has one of the most generous parental leave allowances in the world, but it continues to be an underused benefit even though it’s proven to have many advantages for both fathers and children.
This might be a case of new fathers not knowing how much they’re entitled to or the rules on when they can take leave. Because of this, it’s important to be as supportive as you possibly can, offer accurate and informative policies to guide your staff and encourage a work culture that embraces parental leave.
Returning to work after paternity leave
Coming back from any kind of leave is daunting. We’ve all been there, even after a few days’ vacation—it can be nerve-wracking to pick up where you left off!
To make the transition as easy as possible for your staff you may want to consider accommodations to help them acclimatize to their new dual role as a working parent.
For example, doing everything you can to adjust your employee’s schedule, such as offering hybrid or flexible working, or term-time working options, can help improve their work and home life balance.
And not only will this support their own workload management, but it will help their ability to get back up and running smoothly again after leave.
The Minister of Employment also recently announced a plan to begin a benefit plan for parents who have a child through surrogate to also get 15 weeks off. A win for fathers who welcome a child via surrogacy.
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