Please note the following is information based in the province of Quebec
When you are going to be a mother, for the first time or not, you immediately start thinking about several things. Which doctor or midwife will monitor your pregnancy? Do you want to know the baby's gender? And let's not talk about the choice of names! In all of this, have you thought about your maternity leave? Here are some answers to questions you might have about it.
When are you eligible for maternity leave and long can you take?
First of all, know that you can take your maternity leave from 16 weeks before your due date. With a total duration of 18 weeks, you can divide your leave before and after childbirth.
Who pays for the leave?
Maternity leave is unpaid leave, so your job does not pay you. Indeed, it is the Quebec Parental Insurance Plan (QPIP) that takes care of paying you salary compensation. So don't forget to complete your service request!
And parental leave?
It is possible to add parental leave to your maternity leave. This leave of a maximum duration of 52 continuous weeks can be taken from the baby's first week of birth and can be shared between the 2 parents.
Can I extend my leave?
If your health or that of your baby does not allow you to return to work then yes you can extend your leave (maternity or parental).
This is the case, for example, if you want to breastfeed your child longer and returning to work poses a risk to their health. If so, consult the Standards, Equity, Health and Safety at Work Commission to find out what to do.
Am I at risk of being fired?Rest assured the law also protects you against dismissal in the event of maternity leave. Indeed, your employer is obliged to allow you to return to your position (or an equivalent position) as if you had not left. If this is not the case, consult a lawyer to assert your rights.
This article is written by guest blogger Staci Coulson. She is a freelance entrepreneur specializing in digital and content marketing. She is passionate about writing and loves spending time with her 3-year-old.