What maternity leave benefits are out there?

jennifer Bjorkman | January-17-11


One of our HR Experts, Lynne Bard from Beyond Rewards Inc., answered the following question from one of our Employer members:

Dear Expert,
As an environmental organization, will be experiencing our first maternity leave since the company’s inception in 2004.  We are trying to benchmark what maternity programs are out there for a firm in our business (professional services) and size (approximately 30 employees) either Canada wide or in Ontario.  Do you have any advice or data that we can review to make a decision on the financial support during a maternity leave?  As well, we know what our legal obligations are for maternity leaves, but we are also looking for information on what other organizations are doing to “top up” their mat leave programs.


By: Lynne Bard

Beyond Rewards Inc.

Organizations often top-up maternity benefits and provide additional benefits to employees with young families.  Below are a few examples of the top-ups that are paid-out:
Parental leave is an important HR issue for employees


  • Maternity leave top-up benefits for new mothers (to 93% for 32 weeks) and for new fathers (to 93% for 17 weeks), including adoptive parents
  • A top-up equal to the difference between the employment insurance benefit, plus any other earnings, and 75% of an employee's regular pay for up to 35 weeks of the parental leave. Employees must provide proof of the employment insurance payment to payroll.  Employees who had a two week waiting period for top-up for pregnancy leave continue to receive top-up for parental leave without a further waiting period
  • Maternity leave top-up benefits to 80% of salary for 24 weeks


In addition to maternity top-up payments employers often do the following with no repercussions to lost wages for employees once back to work:

  • Allow employees with children to leave to attend performances at the schools and attend school trips with their children
  • Flexible hours to accommodate the care of children
  • Daycare on-site
  • Work from home to accommodate the care of a sick child

In addition to the flexible work arrangements employers often cover daycare/childcare costs should they have to travel for work.

Remember, whatever your organization decides to do this time, the same must be done with the next employee who goes on maternity leave.


Other Resources

Lynne Bard is a Certified Human Resource Professional (CHRP) based in Guelph, Ontario, and president of Beyond Rewards Inc.


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