This presentation deals with Pregnancy and Parental Leaves. 1

This presentation deals with Pregnancy and Parental Leaves.
The Employment Standards Act is provincial legislation that sets out the minimum employment standards for terms and conditions of employment in Ontario. The ESA
establishes the right to leaves from work for pregnancy and parental needs.
The Employment Insurance Act is federal legislation that sets out the terms and conditions and/or entitlement to employment insurance benefits during pregnancy and parental leaves.
The Ontario Human Rights Code prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex which is defined to include pregnancy.
In addition, teacher collective agreements contain clauses pertaining to statutory pregnancy and parental leaves as well as extended leaves.
The Employment Standards Act defines a pregnancy leave (to be taken only by the birth mother) as a 17 week leave of absence that may begin up to 17 weeks prior to the expected date of delivery. A parental leave for the birth mother is a 35 week leave that must begin when the pregnancy leave ends.
Other parents (including adoptive parents and parents through surrogacy) may access a parental leave of 37 weeks. This leave must begin no later than 52 weeks after the child is born or comes into custody, care, and control for the first time. 4
In order to qualify for a pregnancy or parental leave, the Employment Standards Act
indicates that you must have at least 13 weeks of employment with the board before the expected date of birth.
You must provide a minimum of 2 weeks written notice to your board in order to commence a pregnancy or parental leave. For pregnancy leaves, a certificate from a medical practitioner (which may include a doctor or a mid‐wife) must be attached.
If complications arise or if a child comes into your care without notice, this requirement may be waived.
The Employment Standards Act also provides for other important entitlements. Employees on a statutory pregnancy or parental leave have the right to continue to participate in the board’s benefit plan including the extended health plan, dental plan, life insurance, accidental death plan, LTD, and pension plan. You must notify the board and arrange a payment plan if you are responsible for premium payments and wish to continue these benefits while on your statutory leave. 7
Employees also have the right to continue to accrue seniority and service while on a statutory pregnancy or parental leave. When calculating an employee’s length of employment service (for grid purposes) or seniority, the board is obligated to include the period of the statutory leave.
At the completion of a statutory leave, the board is obligated to reinstate you to the position most recently held, if it still exists or to a comparable position, if it does not. Please refer to your collective agreement for additional language on this issue.
The Employment Standards Act prohibits employers from penalizing an employee who exercises or attempts to exercise a right under the ESA, including the right to take a pregnancy or parental leave. 10
You may be entitled to pregnancy or parental benefits under the Employment Insurance Act
if you have at least 600 hours of insurable employment in the 52 week period preceding the claim. Consult your local ETFO office to determine the number of hours you accumulate each day you work. 11
A claim for pregnancy benefits may begin up to 8 weeks before a child is born but no later than the birth of a child.
The parental benefits claim may start as early as the birth of the baby or placement of the child for adoption. It must end 52 weeks after the birth or adoption placement. 12
There is a two week waiting period before you will be eligible to receive EI benefits. Following the waiting period, you will be eligible for a maximum of 15 weeks of pregnancy benefits and 35 weeks of parental benefits.
There is an online application form you must complete at You will need a Record of Employment or R.O.E. from your school board in order to complete your application. Your board will forward the Record of Employment directly to Service Canada after your last work day.
Collective agreements contain clauses pertaining to pregnancy and parental leaves. Many collective agreements provide for Supplementary Employment Benefits (sometimes called SEB or SUB or top‐up). Under a negotiated SEB plan, the board may be required to provide additional compensation to you and/or top‐up the E.I. Benefits you receive.
Refer to your local collective agreement for information about your specific entitlements.
With evidence from a medical practitioner, you are entitled to use sick credits prior to delivery if you are unable to work for health reasons, whether related or unrelated to the pregnancy.
Court rulings support your entitlement to sick leave with pay following delivery for a period of generally 6 weeks when you are unable to work for health reasons. You may only access the number of sick days available to you under the board’s sick leave plan. 16
Check with your local ETFO office to see if your board has a protocol in place for dealing with Fifth Disease. If you are contemplating pregnancy, ask your doctor for an immunity test early on to protect yourself in the event that you are not immune.
There are many important things to do in preparation for a pregnancy or parental leave.
Review your local collective agreement language.
Contact your local or provincial office to discuss options.
If applying for a pregnancy leave, obtain a medical certificate stating the expected date of birth.
Provide written notice to your board.
Review all of the information that the board will send you regarding health benefits, LTD, and pension.
Obtain a copy of your Record of Employment from the board after your last day of work.
Complete the online application at
Provide proof of your E.I. claim to the board in order to receive any Supplementary Employment Benefit payments under the collective agreement.
Remember to add your child to your benefit plan as soon as possible.
Don’t forget to pay your Ontario College of Teachers fee if it is due during the time you are away from work.
Relax! Now that you’ve taken care of all of the paperwork, it’s time to concentrate on your new child. 19