Maternity, paternity, and parental leave

Maternity, paternity, and parental leave
The QPIP provides benefits to parents so they can stay with their newborn.


Since January 2006, the Quebec Parental Insurance Plan (QPIP) gives money to enable parents of a newborn to temporarily stop working. Certain eligibility conditions must be met:

  • Being a resident of Quebec;
  • Having ceased your business activities or having a reduction of your income of at least 40%;
  • Having earned at least $2000 during the qualifying period used by the government, generally in the year preceding the benefit period;
  • Having paid contributions to the Quebec Parental Insurance Plan.

How much will you receive under the Parental Insurance Plan?

The benefit amount to which you are entitled is based on several factors, including your income during the qualifying period. If you are a salaried worker, this period usually corresponds to the 52 weeks preceding the start of your leave and, if you are self-employed, to the calendar year preceding your leave. However, the maximum insurable earnings are $88 000.

The amount of your benefits will also depend on the type of plan you choose and the types of benefits to which you are entitled.

Types of plans offered

Mère avec son nouveau-né

The Quebec Parental Insurance Plan offers two types of plans: The basic plan and the special plan.

The choice of benefit plan is determined by the first of the two parents to file the application. Once the first benefit has been paid, it will no longer be possible to change plans. It is therefore important to evaluate which of the two plans is best for your situation. To find out the estimated amount of benefits to which you may be entitled, try the QPIP Benefit Calculation Simulator.

Basic plan

With the basic plan, the amount of benefits is lower, but they are spread over a longer period. This plan provides for 18 weeks exclusively for the mother, 5 weeks for the father or the spouse mentioned on the birth certificate, and at least 32 weeks to be shared between the two parents. Adoption leave consists of at least 37 weeks of benefits to be shared between the two parents. Parents receive 55% or 70% of their average earnings.

Special plan

With the special plan, the amount of benefits is higher, but they are spread over a shorter period. This plan provides for 15 weeks exclusively for the mother, 3 weeks for the father or the spouse mentioned on the birth certificate, and at least 25 weeks to be shared between the two parents. Adoption leave consists of at least 28 weeks of benefits to be shared between the two parents. Parents receive 75% of their average earnings.

Increased benefit for some parents

Parents whose average weekly earnings are less than the equivalent of a normal work week of 40 hours paid at the general minimum wage rate can receive an increased benefit of up to 85% or 100% of their average weekly earnings, depending on the plan option they chose, rather than between 55% and 75%. If you are eligible, you will automatically receive an increased benefit. No action is required.

Types of benefits offered

Maternity benefits

All benefits received are taxable by the provincial and federal governments.

These benefits are available exclusively to the biological mother. Therefore, they cannot be shared between the two parents. Depending on the plan selected, the mother receives 70% of her earnings for 18 weeks (basic plan) or 75% of her earnings for 15 weeks (special plan).

Since October 2020, mothers can earn some employment income without affecting their maternity benefits. This measure ends a practice deemed discriminatory as it previously applied only to weeks of parental leave and paternity leave.

Paternity benefits

These benefits are available exclusively to the biological father or the spouse of the biological mother if the spouse is mentioned on the birth certificate. Therefore, they cannot be shared between the two parents. Depending on the plan selected, the father or spouse receives 70% of their earnings for 5 weeks (basic plan) or 75% of their earnings for 3 weeks (special plan).

You must take your paternity leave within 12 months of the birth of your child. If your baby was born on or after January 1, 2021, you have 18 months to take your leave.

Parental benefits

Père avec son bébé

Parental benefits may be shared between the two parents and are therefore in addition to maternity or paternity leave. Parental leave may be taken by the two parents either at the same time or one after the other. Some parents prefer to take them together, others not. For example, some mothers welcome the presence of the father to assist them in caring for the baby after childbirth, which helps them recover more easily. Other couples prefer to take their respective leaves one after the other to keep their child at home longer before sending them to day care.

Depending on the plan selected, the parents first receive 70% of their earnings for 7 weeks, followed by 55% of their earnings for 25 weeks (basic plan), or 75% of their earnings for 25 weeks (special plan).

Parents of children born on or after January 1, 2021, are also entitled to an additional 4 weeks (55% of earnings) if each parent takes at least 8 weeks of parental leave (basic plan), or an additional 3 weeks (75% of income) if each parent takes at least 6 weeks of parental leave (special plan). These additional weeks can be shared between the two parents.

Since January 2021, mothers who give birth to twins, triplets, etc., and their partners are each entitled to an additional 5 weeks of parental benefits at 70% of their earnings (basic plan), or an additional 3 weeks of parental benefits at 75% of their earnings. These additional weeks cannot be shared between the two parents.

You must take your parental leave within 12 months of the birth of your child. If your baby was born on or after January 1, 2021, you have 18 months to take your leave.

Additional benefits for single parents

Since January 2022, parents who are the sole parent mentioned on their child’s birth certificate or adoption documents are entitled to an additional 5 weeks of parental or adoption benefits (basic plan), and an additional 3 weeks of parental or adoption benefits (special plan).

Adoption benefits

These benefits are for couples adopting children. They can be shared between the two parents. As with parental benefits, they can be taken by the two parents either at the same time or one after the other. Depending on the plan selected, parents will first receive 70% of their earnings for 12 weeks, followed by 55% of their earnings for 25 weeks (basic plan), or 75% of their earnings for 28 weeks (special plan) if the adoption took place before January 1, 2021.

For adoptions that take place from January 1, 2021, adoptive parents are entitled to 55 weeks of benefits (basic plan) or 43 weeks (special plan), the majority of which can be shared. They are also entitled to an additional 4 weeks if each parent takes at least 8 weeks of shareable adoption benefits (basic plan), or to an additional 3 weeks if each parent takes at least 6 weeks of shareable adoption benefits (special plan). These additional weeks can be shared between the two parents.

Since January 2021, parents who are adopting more than one child at the same time are both entitled to an additional 5 weeks of adoption benefits (basic plan), or an additional 3 weeks of adoption benefits (special plan). These additional weeks cannot be shared between the two parents.

You must take your adoption leave within 12 months of the adoption of your child. If the adoption took place on or after January 1, 2021, you have 18 months to take your leave.

What QPIP benefits are same-sex spouses entitled to?

Benefits for a two-woman couple: The biological mother is entitled to maternity benefits and her spouse is entitled to paternity benefits if she is mentioned on the birth certificate. Both mothers are also entitled to parental benefits. In the case of spouses who adopt a child, both are entitled to adoption benefits.
Benefits for a two-man couple: Paternity and parental benefits are granted to the biological father. A man who adopts his spouse’s biological child may also be entitled to adoption benefits. In the case of spouses who adopt a child, both are entitled to adoption benefits.

How to apply for benefits

To receive benefits from the Quebec Parental Insurance Plan, each parent must submit an application. The application can be submitted online or by phone.

However, if you apply by phone, you will be required to provide supporting documents by mail. Since processing of your request only begins upon receipt of the documents, requests by telephone have a longer processing period.

When to apply for benefits

It is important to submit your application quickly, as it is not possible to receive payments for more than the 3 weeks preceding submission of your application. For example, if you stopped working on June 15 and you want to receive benefits for the week of June 17, your application must be submitted no later than July 14. Please note that you are not required to have received your record of employment to apply.

Maternity benefits

For maternity benefits, you can apply no sooner than 16 weeks before the week scheduled for childbirth. In addition, maternity benefits must end no later than 18 weeks after the child is born (or 20 weeks if your child was born in 2021). Therefore, make sure to submit your application as soon as possible after your child is born.

Also, if you plan to take paid vacation days after the birth of your child, it is best to wait until the end of your maternity leave to avoid losing weeks of benefits.

Paternity, adoption, and parental benefits

For other types of benefits, the application may be submitted on the week of the child’s birth, or the week of the child’s arrival in the case of an adoption in Quebec. For a child adopted outside of Quebec, the application may be submitted 2 weeks before the child’s arrival.

 

Naître et grandir

Research and copywriting: The Naître et grandir team
Updated: January 2022

 

Photos : iStock.com/RuslanDashinsky, GettyImages/FatCamera, and kupicoo

 

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