Maternity leave

Am I eligible for paid maternity leave?

In Canada, you are eligible for paid maternity leave if you meet the following criteria:

  1. You are employed in insurable employment. This means that you have had employment insurance (EI) premiums deducted from your wage by your employer. These premium rates change from year to year.
  2. You meet the specific criteria for EI maternity benefits. These are payable only to the biological mother who is unable to work because she is pregnant or has recently given birth.
  3. Your normal weekly earnings are reduced by more than 40%. When your normal weekly earnings are reduced by 40% or more because of your pregnancy or need to care for your newborn.
  4. You have worked at least 600 hours of insurable employment. This means you have worked 600 hours in the 52-week period prior to the start of your EI period.

A woman with an uncomplicated pregnancy qualifies for maternity leave at the onset of labour. Women who experience complications of pregnancy or other illness-related problems are eligible for either health or sickness benefits, rather than maternity leave.

How much will I get paid on maternity leave? And for how long?

Maternity leave in Canada is available for a maximum of 15 weeks. This benefit is only offered to biological (and surrogate) mothers. A further 35 weeks of parental benefits are available to biological, adoptive, or legally recognized parents. These can be shared between two parents. The amount you will receive depends on the details of your application. For most people, you will receive at least 55% of your average insurable weekly earnings. Your benefit could be as high as 80% of your usual income. The maximum annual benefit in 2016 was $50,800.

How do I apply for maternity and parental leave?

To apply, submit an application online application. Go to for more details.