EI parental sharing benefit now in effect

The federal government has implemented a new EI benefit* to parents opting to share their parental leave. The new benefit provides parents with the option of continuing their maternity/paternity leave for an added five to eight weeks.

Here’s how it works

When parents opt to share their parental leave benefits, they can receive an additional five weeks of standard leave. This increases the current 35 weeks to 40 weeks. Parents who select extended leave can receive an additional eight weeks; increasing the current 61 weeks to 69 weeks.

For parents to take advantage of these new benefits, they must both choose the same parental benefits option (either standard or extended). The benefit is available for parents with children born or adopted on or after March 17, 2019.

What you need to know:

  • Each province, as well as the federal government, has their own labour standards governing the continuation of coverage during parental leave.
  • Coverage during parental leave will continue as long as The Co-operators continues to receive premium payments for the plan member.
  • We require premiums continue for either all coverage or for no coverage during the leave, with the exception being 100% employee paid disability premiums. While we don’t recommend discontinuation of disability benefits during maternity/paternity leave, we allow plan members to opt out of their disability coverage for the duration of the leave. It’s important to remind employees who are opting out of disability coverage (effectively terminating that coverage) that, should they become disabled during their leave, they’re not eligible for any disability benefits under the policy

You’re not required to make any changes to your policy to accommodate the new shared parental benefit. Our policies are written to include coverage during any leave mandated by legislation.

For more information, contact the Group Client Service Centre or your Group Benefits Advisor.

* The province of Quebec provides parental benefits to residents of Quebec through the Quebec Parental Insurance Plan (QPIP).

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