Conservatives Announce New Maternity And Parental Leave Benefits

October 7, 2015 – Today, Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced new work and income benefits for moms and dads having a baby. A re-elected Conservative government will provide up to 18 months of job protection for new parents and the option to stretch Employment Insurance (EI) benefits over 18 months. The Prime Minister also announced that women receiving maternity benefits and parents receiving parental benefits would be able to earn additional employment and self-employment income while receiving EI benefits.

“The birth of a new baby is always an exciting time, but it’s also a period of tremendous change for parents,” the Prime Minister said.  “Our Conservative party wants to support new moms and dads by providing additional career flexibility and opportunities to earn during the transition to parenthood.”

Each year, 170,000 women receive EI maternity benefits and 190,000 parents receive EI parental benefits. The number of dads who receive parental benefits has continued to increase, and is now approximately 30%.

Under a re-elected Conservative government, the four-part package announced today would achieve the following:

  • The federal labour code will be amended to provide job protection for new parents until their babies have reached the age of 18 months.
  • Parents can opt to receive EI parental benefits at the full rate for up to 35 weeks, or they can extend those payments at a lesser rate up to a maximum of 61 weeks. When combined with other EI maternity leave, this means parents will be able to receive a stream of income until their babies are 18 months old.
  • A new two-year pilot project will be established to allow parents to earn self-employment income, without impacting their EI maternity or parental benefits, up to 100% of the weekly EI maximum insurable earnings threshold.
  • Women receiving EI maternity benefits will also be able to earn employment income under the Working While on Claim pilot project. This is currently only permitted for those receiving EI parental benefits.

“These fair and affordable commitments will provide new parents with additional flexibility, and will allow those who are interested in starting new businesses to do so – all without raising taxes on Canadians,” said the Prime Minister.

He noted that the NDP would raise EI payroll taxes by $5.3 billion while the Liberals will increase EI payroll taxes by $2.2 billion in order to pay for their promises.  “The Liberal and NDP plans will cost average Canadian families hundreds of dollars each and every year in additional taxes – and they will kill jobs.”

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