What does Canada’s new extended Parental Leave mean for CUPE members?
December 02, 2017 at 11:49 PM
The Federal Government has made changes to Employment Insurance (EI) benefits for parental leave, which took effect on December 3, 2017. Please read the following information to determine what this change may mean for CUPE members.
Under the new rules, parents, including adoptive parents, will have a choice of the following options at the time of their application:
- Standard benefit: 35 weeks of EI parental benefits over a period up to 12 months at 55% of average weekly earnings, to a maximum of $543/week;
- Extended benefit: 61 weeks of EI parental benefits over a period up to 18 months at 33% of average weekly earnings, to a maximum of $326/week.
The above choice will not be available to anyone receiving EI parental benefits before December 3rd.
While the federal government says the new changes will be available to all new parents as of December 3, only federally regulated workplacessuch as banks, transport companies, federal public service, and telecoms, etc., will have job protection for the full 18 months if choosing that option.
Outside of federally regulated workplaces, the provinces/territories must make legislative and policy changes to define the conditions of job-protected leave that will allow the extended leave to become an option for new parents.
In Manitoba, changes to employment standard codes and collective agreements haven’t been made yet to give other workers (including CUPE members) job protection for the full 18 months.
As well, CUPE collective agreements would need to be amended to give members the extended leave option. Without revised language, any leave without pay for parental leave beyond 37 weeks may not be approved by the employer and your job may not be protected. Until these changes are in place, members will need to speak with the employer and obtain written approval before applying for the extended leave option in order to guarantee their current job when they return to work.
If you have any other questions on this issue, please feel free to contact the Local 500 office at 204-942-1001.
You can also go to Service Canada’s website at canada.ca for more information about these Employment Insurance Improvements.