Frequently Asked Questions – parental benefits for CAF members

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Q1.      What types of benefits and leave are available for Canadian Armed Forces members who are parents of newborns or newly adopted children?

A1.      The Canadian Armed Forces provides maternity and parental leave for Regular Force members and Reserve Force members on Class B or Class C periods of reserve service. Class A Reserve Force members receive Exemption from Duty and Training (ED&T) for maternity or parental purposes. The Canadian Armed Forces provides an allowance that will top up EI maternity and parental benefits, or QPIP benefits in Quebec, to 93 percent of a member’s regular pay and eligible allowances, for up to 364 days total benefits for members on parental or maternity leave, or ED&T for maternity or parental purposes.

Q2.      What is the difference between maternity and parental leave and allowances?

A2.      Maternity leave and allowance is an entitlement for members (including surrogates) who are pregnant for at least 19 weeks, to recover from childbirth. Parental leave and allowance is an entitlement for biological, adoptive, or legally-recognized parents to bond with and care for their newborn or newly adopted child.

Q3.      Now that federal EI parental benefits can be received over a longer period of time – up to an additional 26 weeks – what is the Canadian Armed Forces offering its members?

A3.      As of 24 June 2019, Canadian Armed Forces members who are parents may request additional time off. This is done through leave without pay and allowances (LWOP) for personal reasons for parental purposes, for up to 61 weeks of leave in total. In addition to parental leave, members who are pregnant for at least 19 weeks are entitled to up to 18 weeks of maternity leave and benefits.

During the additional weeks of leave, members who live outside of Quebec can receive EI benefits but will not get the additional top-up to their salaries. It should be noted that the EI benefit for the additional weeks is 33 percent of a member’s salary, to a maximum amount set by the Government of Canada. For 2019, the maximum was set at $337 per week. For more details on EI maternity and parental benefits offered by the Government of Canada, visit the EI maternity and parental benefits web page.

Q4.      How does this affect Canadian Armed Forces members living in Quebec?

A4.      All Regular Force members and reservists on Class B or C periods of service can request this new type parental leave without pay and allowances. However, residents of Quebec cannot access the extended federal EI benefits. Because the Province of Quebec administers its own Quebec Parental Insurance Plan (QPIP), its residents do not receive benefits through the federal Employment Insurance program. Canadian Armed Forces members residing in Quebec are not eligible for the extended parental benefits as the QPIP has not made amendments to an Act Respecting Parental Insurance. For more information on the Quebec Parental Insurance Plan (QPIP) benefits offered by the Province of Quebec, visit the QPIP web page.

Q5.        What effect does taking this new leave without pay and allowances (LWOP) for personal reasons for parental purposes have on a member’s pension benefits?

A5.         These new and extended leave provisions for parental purposes will affect pensions. Members should contact the Government of Canada Pension Centre at 1-800-267-0325 to find out how the changes will affect individual pension plan entitlements. The Canadian Forces Superannuation Act (CFSA), which governs Canadian Armed Forces pensions, has not changed. Members should note that the total time they can use LWOP for pension purposes under the Income Tax Act rules remains five years, plus up to an additional three years for periods of parenting.

Q6.      What effect will it have on other benefits?

A6. This new leave without pay and allowances provision for parents will affect calculations for annual leave, Canadian Forces Decoration (CD), promotion, pay incentives, and obligatory service. Members should contact their Orderly Rooms for more information prior to deciding to take any type of leave without pay.

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