To be entitled to unpaid maternity leave, an employee must have been employed with the same employer for at least 90 consecutive days. The employee must give their employer at least 6 weeks written notice of when they intend to begin their leave. If the employee does not give their employer notice, they are still entitled to maternity leave if they give their employer written notice and a medical certificate within 2 weeks of their last day of work, (the shorter notice is usually due to medical condition).
Birth mothers must take at least 6 weeks off work after the birth for health reasons. A birth mother may return to work earlier if their employer agrees to an early return date and the employee provides a medical certificate to the employer confirming that the early return to work will not endanger her health.
Birth mothers may take up to 16 weeks of unpaid maternity leave. This is one week shorter than the Employment Insurance benefit. Meaning, you may take 16 weeks off but will only be paid Employment Insurance for 15 weeks.
Employees must give their employers at least 4 weeks written notice of the date that they plan to return to work after their leave.
An employer may not terminate or lay off an employee who has taken either maternity or parental leave. One exception is when the employer suspends or discontinues the entire business or an entire part of the business. Even in these cases, however, the employee must be reinstated if the business resumes operations within one year from the end of the leave.
In Alberta, employers are legally required to continue paying the health-related part of maternity leave benefit premiums if they pay for employee benefit premiums when their employees are sick. An employer can ask a pregnant employee to provide information on her medical condition, as in any other health related absence. A woman may begin maternity leave without health-related problems but encounter them later during the leave. In such cases, the health-related part of the benefit plan from work can be used as it would not apply from the start of a maternity leave.
If you have any health-related benefits with your employment, you may be entitled to Employment Insurance benefits. You should contact your nearest Employment Insurance office for more information.
In Alberta it is illegal to discriminate against women because of pregnancy, according to the Alberta Human Rights Act. Pregnancy is protected under the ground of gender. Women are protected against;
Parental leave is different from maternity leave. Unpaid Parental leave can be taken by both birth and adoptive parents. Parents are entitled to take up to 37 consecutive weeks of parental leave, which may be used by one parent or split between both parents. Parental leave may start at any time after the birth or adoption of a child but must be taken within 53 weeks of the birth or date the adopted child is placed with the parents.
As with maternity leave, the Employment Insurance parental leave benefit is one week less (61 weeks under the standard and not extended EI scheme).
If a mother taking maternity leave takes the full 37 consecutive weeks of parental leave, then the two leaves must be taken simultaneously. Once maternity leave ends, parental leave would begin. A father who has been employed by an employer for at least 90 days is entitled to take all or part of the parental leave. The father may take 37 consecutive weeks within 53 weeks of the child’s birth or adoption. If the mother and father work for the same employer, then the employer is not required to grant parental leave to both employees at the same time.
If both parents intend to share parental leave, then they must notify their employers of their intention to do so. An employee must give their employer at least 6 weeks written notice of the date that they will start the parental leave, unless there is a medical condition that makes it impossible to comply with the notice provision, or the child’s placement in adoption was not foreseeable. In those cases, written notice should be given as soon as possible.