Collective Bargaining

FAQ: Parental leave and allowance changes

As you know, the 2018-2022 public service FI collective agreement incorporates legislative changes to the 2017 Employment Insurance Act (EI) regarding parental leave and has secured additional improvements for new parents.

We know these changes are important to the ACFO-ACAF community and we want to make sure our members have the information they need to make the best decision for themselves and their families. To that end, we have prepared a list of our most frequently-asked questions regarding the recent changes to parental leave and allowance. You can also find a summary table of the parental leave and benefits changes under EI here and under QPIP here.

If you have a question that is not addressed below, or if you require any further information, do not hesitate to contact a Labour Relations Advisor at labourrelations@acfo-acaf.com. We are happy to offer any information and guidance you may need.

 

1.    What are the new parental leave provisions (Article 35.01)?

Public service FI ACFO-ACAF members beginning their parental leave on or after August 1, 2019 have the option of taking leave without pay for either:

  • Option 1: a period of up to 37 consecutive weeks in the 52-week period (standard leave); or
  • Option 2: a period of up to 63 consecutive weeks in the 78-week period (extended leave).

All public service FIs members have this choice of leave, whether they are under the EI or QPIP regimes.

If eligible, employees can also take leave without pay for an additional 5 to 8 weeks under EI (shared weeks) and 5 weeks under the QPIP (paternity weeks). See the collective agreement for more information about eligibility or contact labourrelations@aco-acaf.com.

 

2.    When do the new parental leave provisions go into effect?

The new parental leave provisions have been in effect since August 1, 2019. For information about the effective date of the allowance provisions, see question four.

 

3.    What are the new parental allowance (top-up) provisions (Article 35.02)?

There are five major changes to the parental allowance (top-up):

  1. A total parental allowance of 93% is available for an employee who opts for the standard leave (37 consecutive weeks in a 52-week period) under the EI and QPIP regimes.
  2. Under the standard parental leave (Option 1), an additional five weeks of top-up for shared weeks (EI) or paternity weeks (QPIP) is available.
  3. A total parental allowance of 55.8% is available for an employee who opts for the extended leave (63 consecutive weeks in the 78-week period) under EI. Note that employees under QPIP do not qualify for the extended parental benefits. See question five for more information on the QPIP regime.
  4. Under the extended parental leave (Option 2), an additional eight weeks of top-up under EI only is available. Note that employees under QPIP do not qualify for the extended parental benefits. See question five for more information on the QPIP regime.
  5. Under certain conditions, additional weeks of benefits are provided for employees under EI and/or QPIP. You can refer to the collective agreement for eligibility or contact labourrelations@acfo-acaf.com for more information.

 

4.    When do the new parental allowance provisions go into effect?

The deadline for the new parental allowance to take effect set out in the public service FI Collective agreement is January 28, 2020. However, Treasury Board has recently confirmed that the new parental allowance provisions in the 2018 – 2022 collective agreement will take effect on November 18, 2019.

Employees who start parental leave before November 18 will be subject to the allowance provisions of the 2014 – 2018 collective agreement. Those who start parental leave on or after November 18 will be subject to the allowance provisions of the 2018 – 2022 collective agreement.

 

5.    I am an FI covered under the Québec Parental Insurance Plan (QPIP). How do the new changes to EI and the public service FI Collective agreement affect me?

The QPIP regime does not offer an extended parental leave benefit so the parental allowance is only payable under Option 1, the standard parental leave.

However, you are still eligible to take the extended parental leave as provided in the public service FI collective agreement. In this case, you will receive the standard parental allowance of 93% for up to 52 weeks (if one parent is working for the public service) or 57 (if both parents work for the public services and share the parental leave). After this period, you will be entitled to take the rest of your extended leave, but you will not receive an allowance.

The changes that do apply to public service FIs under QPIP include the parental allowance for 5 weeks of paternity benefits and, where eligible, the additional two weeks of allowance benefits. You can refer to the collective agreement or contact labourrealtions@acfo-acaf.com for information about eligibility.

 

6.    How many weeks of parental allowance is an employee opting for the EI standard parental leave entitled to and at what rate?

The standard parental benefit (corresponding with Option 1) under EI is 35 weeks to be taken within a 52-week period. Under the FI public service collective agreement, a parent is entitled to a parental allowance of 93% of their salary for a maximum of 37 weeks. The extra two weeks of allowance covers:

  • The one-week waiting period beginning immediately following the birth of the child but before EI payments begin, unless the waiting period has already been purged prior to the maternity leave commencing.
  • An additional week that is available in some specific scenarios. You can refer to the collective agreement or contact labourrealtions@acfo-acaf.com for information about eligibility.

 

7.    How many weeks of parental allowance is an employee opting for the EI extended parental leave entitled to and at what rate?

The extended parental leave (corresponding with Option 2) under EI is 61 weeks to be taken within a 78-week period. Under the FI public service collective agreement, an employee is entitled to a parental allowance of 55.8% of their salary a maximum of 63 weeks within the 78-week period. The extra two weeks of allowance covers:

  • The one-week waiting period beginning immediately following the birth of the child but before EI payments begin, unless the waiting period has already been purged prior to the maternity leave commencing.
  • An additional week that is available some specific scenarios. You can refer to the collective agreement or contact labourrealtions@acfo-acaf.com for information about eligibility.

 

8.    What is the maximum combined maternity and standard parental allowances payable under the public service FI collective agreement?

For an employee under EI:

Under the FI public service collective agreement, two parents employed in the federal public service are entitled to a total parental allowance of 93% of their salary for a maximum of 57 weeks. This includes 15 weeks of maternity leave, a one-week waiting period, an additional week if applicable, 35 weeks of parental benefit and 5 weeks of shared parental benefit.

For an employee under QPIP:

Under the FI public service collective agreement, two parents employed in the federal public service are entitled to a total parental allowance of 93% of their salary for a maximum of 57 weeks. This includes 18 weeks of maternity leave, an additional two weeks if applicable, 32 weeks of parental benefit and 5 weeks of paternity benefit.

 

9.    What is the maximum combined maternity and extended parental allowances payable under the public service FI Collective agreement?

Under the FI public service collective agreement, two parents employed in the federal public service are entitled to a total parental allowance of 55.8% of their salary for a maximum of 86 weeks. This includes 15 weeks of maternity leave, one week waiting period, the additional week if applicable, parental leave of 61 weeks and 8 weeks of shared weeks.

Note that the QPIP regime does not offer an extended parental leave benefit. See question five above for more information.

 

10.    If I choose the extended parental leave option, do I have the right to return to my substantive position?

Yes, employees who choose to use extended parental leave, and who are consequently absent for more than one year, will maintain their incumbents’ rights to their position.

 

11.    How will the parental allowance apply if one parent is an employee subject to the public service FI collective agreement with the new language and the other parent is an employee subject to the old parental allowance language (e.g. a CS with PSAC) or vice versa?

In circumstances where both parents are public servants but have differing collective agreement language, each employee will be subject to the provisions of their respective collective agreement for their parental allowance eligibility and amount.

 

12.    I divided my parental leave into two periods with one period falling before the new allowance provisions went into effect and one period falling after, what parental allowance provisions apply to the second part of my leave?

You are subject to the provisions of the collective agreement under which you first started your leave regardless of the timing of the second part of your leave.

 

13.    How much time do I owe back to the employer upon return from parental leave?

If you opted for the standard parental benefits, having received a parental allowance of 93%, you are required to work an equivalent amount of time to the parental allowance received.

If you opted for the extended parental leave, having received a parental allowance of 55.8%, you are required to work 60% (at full time hours) of the parental allowance received.

This work may be fulfilled in the original position or a new position within the core public administration, an agency or another eligible public sector employer. Please contact labourrelations@acfo-acaf.com if you have any questions or to ensure that new position is eligible for this purpose.

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