Pregnant employees have the right to take pregnancy leave of up to 17 weeks of unpaid time off work. In some cases the leave may be longer. Employers do not have to pay wages to someone who is on pregnancy leave.

New parents have the right to take parental leave – unpaid time off work when a baby or child is born or first comes into their care. Birth mothers who took pregnancy leave are entitled to up to 35 weeks’ leave. Birth mothers who do not take pregnancy leave and all other new parents are

Pregnant employees have the right to take pregnancy leave of up to 17 weeks of unpaid time off work. In some cases the leave may be longer. Employers do not have to pay wages to someone who is on pregnancy leave.

New parents have the right to take parental leave – unpaid time off work when a baby or child is born or first comes into their care. Birth mothers who took pregnancy leave are entitled to up to 35 weeks’ leave. Birth mothers who do not take pregnancy leave and all other new parents are entitled to up to 37 weeks’ parental leave.

Parental leave is not part of pregnancy leave and so a birth mother may take both pregnancy and parental leave. In addition, the right to a parental leave is independent of the right to pregnancy leave. For example, a birth father could be on parental leave at the same time the birth mother is on either her pregnancy leave or parental leave.

Employees on leave have the right to continue participation in certain benefit plans and continue to earn credit for length of employment, length of service, and seniority. In most cases, employees must be given their old job back at the end of their pregnancy or parental leave.

An employer cannot penalize an employee in any way because the employee is or will be eligible to take a pregnancy or parental leave, or for taking or planning to take a pregnancy or parental leave.

Parents will need to stretch out their Employment Insurance (EI) benefits, opting to receive a lower rate of 33 per cent of average weekly earnings for 18 months. Parents may also choose to stick with the 12-month leave at a benefit rate of 55 per cent.

Some parents argue that the benefits already don’t pay enough — the max payout is $543 per week. Spreading that out to 18 months works out to a maximum of $362 per week.

Having a baby isn’t cheap, and the expenses begin before the bundle of joy even arrives.

Then there’s the day-to-day needs — diapers, formula — not to mention long-term or surprise expenses.

Toronto Mommies was behind a petition that urged the Liberals to extend parental leave; it nabbed more than 100,000 signatures!