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Two different kinds of leave from work are available for parents: 1) maternity leave and 2) parental leave.

1) Maternity leave is available only to the birth mother. If she’s been employed prior to the birth, she may qualify for Employment Insurance benefits during this time.To receive maternity benefits you are required to have worked for 600 hours in the last 52 weeks or since your last claim.

2) Parental leave is available to the birth mother and/or father. If they have been employed prior to the birth,
they may qualify for Employment Insurance benefits during this time.To receive parental benefits you are required to have worked for 600 hours in the last 52 weeks or since your last claim

The birth mother usually takes parental leave right after her pregnancy leave is over. Adoptive parents also qualify for parental leave. Under the British Columbia Employment Standards Act, employees are entitled to a leave of absence from work, without pay, so they can spend time with a new child. A birth mother is entitled to up to 17 consecutive weeks of unpaid maternity leave. This leave period may be extended by up to six consecutive weeks if an employee is unable to return to work for reasons related to the birth. An employer may require an employee to provide a doctor’s certificate in support of a request for leave or a leave extension. The Act also provides for parental leave of 35 weeks for birth mothers and 37 weeks for fathers and adopting parents.

Please note: This is for general information only. It is not a legal document. Please refer to the Employment Standards Act and Regulation for purposes of interpretation and application of the law. For more information call 1-800-206-7218 or contact Service Canada.

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