Your FAQs on Canadian paternity leave
Dads taking paternity leave benefits the whole family. Through shared parental leave, Dad can form a strong bond with his newborn and become a more confident parent; plus his partner has the option to return to work. But for any active father, parental leave opportunities can be confusing and closed off. We’ve teamed up with fatherhood NGO Dad Central to help you feel clued-up on the policies available to you, and to show how beneficial paternity leave really is. Read on for our answers to a few of the most frequently asked paternity leave questions.
WHAT IS PATERNITY LEAVE POLICY IN CANADA?
As of March 2019, Canadian parental leave is up to 40 weeks. Five of these are specifically for Dads to take time off work to care for their newborn.
AM I ELIGIBLE?
Yes. All new Dads are eligible for paternity leave – EI (Employment Insurance System) just needs to have at least 600 hours of work down for you in the last 52 weeks.
How does Canadian paternity leave work?
Numbers time (we’ll try to break this down for you). Canadian parental leave benefits are paid for a maximum of 35 shared weeks, plus a 5-week paternity leave window of ‘Daddy days’. These are paid within a year of the birth or adoption of your child. The weekly benefit rate is 55% of your household’s average weekly insurable earnings. Canada’s extended parental benefits are paid for a maximum of 61 shared weeks, with ‘Daddy days’ upped to eight weeks. These are paid within 78 weeks of the birth or adoption of the child. The weekly benefit rate is 33% of your household’s average weekly insurable earnings.
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF PATERNITY LEAVE?
Through our research and partnership with Dad Central, we've found there are many benefits of paternity leave – for men, their partners and their children. Kids who grow up with a highly engaged Dad are more likely to have better mental and physical development, and to be confident leaders. Their risk-taking and risk-management increases, they show more pro-social behaviour, and display a greater ability of self-regulation. These children tend to be more emotionally stable, experience less anxiety and depression, and tend to be more active.
HOW CAN I PLAN AHEAD?
At work, try to speak to your employer or HR department about your company’s paternity leave EI policies and parental leave options. Organizing cover could help your team adjust while you’re away, and sharing your plan to return to work in advance could reassure them too.
At home, cross off your domestic to-do list before the baby arrives. Ask around for advice from friends and family or go to a financial representative for support on that side of your paternity leave. Remember, there’ll be many parenting classes and parenting communities around you that can give support and guidance too.