By Sheryl Smolkin
February 10, 2011
If you are taking a leave of absence and become pregnant while you are off work, the length of the leave period could compromise a future claim for Employment Insurance maternity and parental benefits.
The qualifying period for maternity and parental benefits is 600 insured hours in the last 52 weeks before the claim is made.
Jennifer is a teacher. She took advantage of her school’s “four over five” plan which allowed her to receive 80 per cent of her salary for four years and take the fifth year off with 80 per cent of pay. Taxes, Canada Pension Plan and EI premiums were deducted from her income in all five years.
Prior to going on her sabbatical Jennifer asked her school board’s HR department what the implications were for her maternity benefits if she happened to become pregnant in her year off. She was assured that because she was receiving deferred income during her leave of absence it was as if she was still working, and all her benefits would be protected.