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Maternity & Parental Leave

Congratulations on the upcoming new addition to your family. Following is important information that will be helpful for you to know before, during and after your leave. You will also find the links for BC Employment Standards, Employment Insurance and your collective agreement below.

What You Need to Know

Determining the Start of Your Leave

  • You can start your maternity or parental leave prior to the arrival of your child.
  • Maternity leave can begin as early as 12 weeks before your due date or the date you give birth.
  • You may opt to request vacation leave prior to your maternity leave starting, if you would like to delay the start of your maternity leave until closer to the baby’s arrival.
  • If there are medical complications related to your pregnancy that result in work restrictions, please submit a completed Physician’s Assessment of Work Abilities form to Benefits@viu.ca
  • Parental benefits can begin at any time within 78 weeks after a baby being born or a child (or children) joining your family.

For further reference, visit Government of Canada: EI Maternity and Parental Benefits

Before Your Leave

  • At least four weeks (or 16 weeks VIUFA CA) prior to the start of your leave, complete a leave request form for your Maternity or Parental leave and send to your Manager and your HR Advisor.
  • Make sure to read and review information in your collective agreement or terms and conditions of employment as each employee group has specific language regarding maternity and parental leave duration notice and benefits.
  • One of the key benefits VIU offers is called the Supplemental Employment Benefit (SEB). SEB supplements the amount you receive from Employment Insurance (EI) during your maternity leave. Information about SEB can be found in your collective agreement or terms and conditions of employment.
  • Obtain a medical note, or applicable documentation, with your estimated due date or leave start date and provide that to your Manager.
  • Once your leave dates have been determined, you will receive a confirmation leave memo from your HR Assistant via email. This memo will include information about the Supplemental Employment Benefit (SEB) that you may be entitled to, information about your benefits and continuing pension contributions during your leave if applicable.
  • If you are currently receiving extended health and dental benefits they will be maintained for the full duration of your leave. If you are a temporary employee with benefits they will be maintained until the end of your contract.
  • Contact your HR Advisor if your baby arrives early or there are any unexpected changes to your leave schedule.
  • If you plan to apply for EI Benefits, please visit Service Canada for information and to apply online. Please note that Payroll will send your Record of Employment (ROE) electronically to Service Canada at the commencement of your leave. 
  • Please contact Payroll if you have any deductions such as a computer loan to arrange payment during your leave.
  • If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to your HR Advisor.

During Your Leave

  • If you have applied for EI Benefits and want to apply for supplemental employment benefits (SEB), please submit your EI Claimants Statement to your HR Assistant so your SEB benefit can be determined and paid to you each pay period.
  • To add your child to Extended Health and Dental Benefits, please complete the benefits form and submit to Benefits@viu.ca
  • Your child will have MSP coverage once you complete the online form. Additional information will be provided to you in the hospital.
  • If you are a member of the College Pension Plan you have the option of continuing contributions to the pension plan during your leave – information will be included in your Maternity/Parental Leave letter.
  • Homewood Health has a number of resources for new parents including:
    • New Parent Support
    • Childcare and Parenting
    • Childcare Resource Locator; and
    • Lifeline's newsletter Self Care & Attention for you
  • Please refer to your collective agreement or terms of conditions of employment regarding the timeframe in which you are required to confirm your expected return to work date.

If you are considering or have decided not to return following from your leave please contact your HR Advisor so they can provide important information and special requirements that you need to be aware of.

After Your Leave

If you are a member of the Municipal Pension Plan or a member of the College Pension and did not continue contributions during your leave you can accrue full pensionable service for your leave if you purchase this service within 5 years after your leave or within 30 days of terminating your employment, whichever comes first. Please visit the Pension Corporation for more information.

General, Provincial and Federal Government Information