18-month parental leave coming into effect soon.




The federal government will today unveil the details of its long-promised changes to parental leave rules that will allow eligible new parents to take up to 18 months of employment insurance benefits after the birth of a child.

New parents who are all set to go on parental leave before the end of the year will be able to spread federal benefits over a longer period of more time starting next month.

Social Development Minister Jean-Yves Duclos will announce the details today.A new family caregiver benefit will also kick in, and eligible soon-to-be-mothers will be allowed to claim maternity benefits up to 12 weeks before the baby is due.

The government is not expected to increase the actual value of employment insurance benefits for anyone who takes the extended parental leave. Instead, the Liberals will stick with their 2015 election promise that is  spreading 12 months’ worth of benefits over 18 months of time.

Under the changes first outlined in this year’s budget, new parents will decide when they apply for employment insurance benefits whether to take additional weeks off, which can be split between parents. Once either receives the first dollar of parental leave benefits, the choice is locked in.

Anyone on the 35 weeks of parental leave before the new measures officially come into effect won’t be able to switch and take off the extra time.

All the parental leave changes won’t affect Quebec, which has its own parental leave program.