Maternity Benefits

15 Jul

I called Service Canada today to find out the situation with maternity benefits. It’s pretty straightforward for most people: you get 50 weeks of paid matleave, the employer holds you place for you in the meanwhile. If you earned more than 22K in the 26 weeks preceding your mat leave, and worked for more than 600 hours in the previous 52 weeks, then you get $468 per week (minus taxes) for those 50 weeks. Or about $1700/month – net.

But for me, it’s very complicated. I was on unemployment insurance in April and May this year. Because of that, they calculate my insurable hours not for the whole 52 weeks prior to matleave – but only from the day I got off the unemployment. So I will have 7-8 months. Now, I work 3 days a week – that’s 22.5 hours a week. It looks like – if I don’t skip any days – I will have about 630 hours to claim. I can barely make it there! But I probably will. I will try and negotiate shuffling my workdays around to accommodate for the planned vacation (instead of taking days off, move them to week before/after vacation).

Also, since I am on contract, my employer won’t have to hold my job for me – so I won’t have anywhere to go back to once my 50 weeks of matleave are up. And – great news! – it looks like I will be able to then convert my matleave into regular unemployment benefits for another 18 weeks at same $1700 per month. This should give me enough time to look for a job – while still feeling financially secure.

So now my focus is on accumulating enough hours. I just hope they won’t fire me once they find out I am pregnant. If I were full-time, I wouldn’t worry (it’s illegal to fire someone for being pregnant), but since I’m on contract and have been there for less than 2 months… I don’t feel too secure. Oh well. I’ll have to wait and see.

At least it looks like everything should be fine.

And anyhow, the main thing is I am pregnant and we will have a baby. We can figure out whatever else might happen.

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6 Responses to “Maternity Benefits”

  1. babiesandus July 15, 2011 at 1:46 PM #

    Sounds almost perfect!

    • zygotta July 15, 2011 at 1:54 PM #

      yes – I also spent some time now looking into how much we’re spending per month right now
      considering we just paid off our car, things do look good 🙂
      If only I had more job security…

  2. ifserenitynow July 15, 2011 at 5:27 PM #

    Wow, those are fantastic benefits. I’m jealous! Let’s compare to what I get shall we. Up to 4 months of pregnancy disability leave paid at only 60% of your salary. The trick to this leave is, you have to be disabled though. Most only get about 6-8 weeks of this leave. If you are lucky enough to work for an employer with more than 50 employee’s, you get an additional 12 weeks but only 6 of that is paid and the other 6 is unpaid. Not cool!

    • zygotta July 15, 2011 at 6:16 PM #

      I know, it feels like most countries want their population to diminish…Canada keeps talking about the aging demographics – so immigrants are being attracted and great benefits provided for women. It sucks – 2 months… I don’t even understand how that is possible, you’re still breastfeeding!

      I also get up to 55% of salary a week, and that’s capped: if your income is over 44K a year, then you won’t be getting more than 468 a week, minus benefits.

      There are some big employers like P&G who add up to 95% of real salary to their employees, but those are scarce.

      Still, great maternal support system. I heard there also are some child support benefits, but I’m not sure what they are and whether we are eligible or they are only for low-income families.

  3. Jet July 16, 2011 at 3:04 PM #

    It makes me nauseous thinking back on my maternity leave – only 6 weeks and completely UNPAID.

    I’m happy for you and it sounds like you’re really working things out! Maybe we should move to Canada?

    • zygotta July 16, 2011 at 3:25 PM #

      Canada has its pros and cons… Like, we have really high taxes. You buy something – add 13% to what you see on the price tag (which already is higher than an average US price tag for the same product). And much more money is deducted from our salaries. But then we have free medicine and pretty good social programs, so the welfare people don’t have to go robbing people…

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