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Changes in Family-Related Absences of Leave in Quebec
On October 29, 2020, Bill 51 – An Act mainly to improve the flexibility of the parental insurance plan in order to promote family-work balance was passed in the Parliament which shall promote family-work balance and amend certain provisions of Labour Standards Act. The law will be effective January 1, 2021 (except for the change relating to the division of leaves).
The main aim of the Act is to improve the benefits provided by the Quebec Parental Insurance Plan and to improve better sharing of family responsibilities between working parents. The Act extends the time period during which certain leaves such as maternity, paternity, parental, or adoption benefits can be availed.
Currently, the paternity leave had to begin before the week of the birth and end no later than 52 weeks after the week of the birth. Via amendment, the time frame has been extended and paternity leave can end up to 78 weeks from the week of the birth.
Currently, maternity leave shall end no later than 18 weeks after the week of delivery. Via amendment, the time frame has been increased up to 20 weeks after the week of the delivery.
Special Maternity Leave
Currently, the special maternity leave can last up to 18 consecutive weeks starting from the week from the termination of pregnancy. Effective January 1, 2021, special maternity leave can last up to 20 consecutive weeks after the week of the termination of pregnancy.
Under the Labor Standards Act, parents of a newborn or an adopted child are entitled to leave of a maximum of 52 consecutive weeks. Through the amendment, the maximum number of weeks to which parents are entitled has been increased to 65 consecutive weeks. Also, currently, parents are allowed to avail themselves such leave within 70 weeks after childbirth or adoption. Effective January 1, 2021, such leave can be taken within 78 weeks after the child took birth or was adopted by the employee.
Under the current law, maternity, parental, paternity leaves may at the request of the employee be divided into weeks if the child is hospitalized or if the employee is absent (for ex-employee is on sick leave, compassionate care leave, etc). As per the amendment, such leaves shall be divided into weeks, at the request of the employee, in case of any such circumstances.
Currently, the law does not allow except in certain prescribed circumstances for paternity and parental leave to be divided into weeks and taken by the employee. Via, the amendment, with the consent of the employer, employees shall be allowed to divide paternity and parental leaves into weeks. The effective date of the leave division is not mentioned as per the amendment.
Note: The above provisions shall apply only with regard to a birth occurring on or after January 1, 2021, and to the adoption of a child whose arrival into the care of one of the parents for the purpose of the adoption occurs on or after that date.