EI/mat leave - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 14 Old 05-06-2008, 05:07 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Our governement phone service people are crazy making!

So, any Canadian mamas on here who applied for EI as a maternity leave? Did you wind up having to pay it back in taxes at the end of the year? Did you have the option of starting benefits before your due date? Any other tidbits of info to pass along? Is it worth it?

extra details - DH is working full-time, and earns a mid-low salary for our area. I've been working 32 hours a week with one company, and just under 20 with another, though neither offers mat leave or benefits (even for "full time" staff). We had just assumed that we would do completely without my income, but if we can continue to pull in a bit, it would be a huge load off of our shoulders.

Thoughts?

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#2 of 14 Old 05-06-2008, 05:32 PM
 
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WE didn't have to pay any back, BUT we are on the lower end of incomes (Less that $30000 last year). I started my benefits about a month before I delivered, with no problems.

You need your ROE, and it really shouldn't be a problem from there.

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#3 of 14 Old 05-06-2008, 10:38 PM
 
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I didn't have to pay anything back, but we're very, very low on the income scale. I started my mat. leave (meaning I filed for EI) in Feb. and gave birth in May because it was hard being on my feet all day in retail (and didn't go back ). There was no problem at all with that since it covers you for up to a year either way. I can't see how it wouldn't be worth it unless you were going right back to work asap after giving birth.

(BTW, this was over 6 years ago)
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#4 of 14 Old 05-06-2008, 11:44 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by bwylde View Post
I didn't have to pay anything back, but we're very, very low on the income scale. I started my mat. leave (meaning I filed for EI) in Feb. and gave birth in May because it was hard being on my feet all day in retail (and didn't go back ). There was no problem at all with that since it covers you for up to a year either way. I can't see how it wouldn't be worth it unless you were going right back to work asap after giving birth.

(BTW, this was over 6 years ago)
Oh, hooray! I'm so glad you did this, because that is exactly my situation. I can hardly bear the idea of working until 8 weeks before my due date! I've been all over their website, and it doesn't look like quitting early is an option, but now that I know you did it, I'm going to keep pushing until I find more info. Maybe I can get my midwife to write me a "sick" note - something along the lines of pregnancy and being on your feet all day not being compatible? Even though I *could* stay working until the end. I just don't *want* to. Is that legit? We're actually, federally, fairly high on the pay scale (this year we paid the middle of the three tax brackets), but we live in the NWT (super high COL, and for this area make about the middle of "low"). I don't know how they calculate it all. Maybe I'll get lucky and catch someone other than the infuriating "please check our website for that information" lady I got today. I DID check your website, and it DOESN'T answer my questions, that's why I called you. Crazy.

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#5 of 14 Old 05-06-2008, 11:47 PM
 
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You can go on Mat leave 10 weeks before your edd, and if you want to get off earlier you can get a dr's note and go on 6 weeks of sick leave before that, also covered by EI. I've never heard of anyone paying back their maternity or parental benefits, unless you make other money while you are on ei.

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#6 of 14 Old 05-07-2008, 12:07 AM
 
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Hi there,

We make fairly high wages and I never had to pay anything back on either of my two mat leaves. I also chose to leave both times two weeks before the due date and had no issues with EI. Although, I'll admit at the end of the leave, I wished I had worked right up to the end so I could have a few more weeks with the little one.
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#7 of 14 Old 05-07-2008, 01:30 AM
 
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whenever i have questions like these i call 1-800-O-CANADA. the friendly folks there usually know, and if they don't they know who i can ask.
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#8 of 14 Old 05-07-2008, 02:37 AM
 
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I'm surprised to hear of your phone frustrations as I've always found the Service Canada phone reps extremely friendly and helpful. I've also found their website information about EI and maternity/parental leave to be great!

Try this link.

In short:
  1. You can start your maternity leave 11 weeks before your due date.
  2. Collecting EI is always "worth it". Assuming you have the qualifying hours worked, you will get 55% of your pay (unless you earn more than the annual maximum insurable earnings).
  3. You don't have to "pay it back in taxes". If you work too much while collecting benefits, they will clawback - but this is done while you are collecting benefits b/c you have to report any earnings. Some people find that EI doesn't hold back enough for income tax, so you may want to set a bit aside to avoid an unpleasant surprise come tax time. But that's only b/c EI holds back a pretty minimal amount for income tax.
  4. If you are actually medically unable to work due to your pregnancy, you will have no problem getting medical leave prior to your maternity leave. If you don't have employer sick-benefits (I got caught like this in my last pregnancy) you can collect up to 15 weeks of sickness benefits and THEN start your maternity/parental EI starting at baby's birth. But that's for "sick". If you are just "normal pregnant and tired" then you start your maternity leave when you want and have a total of 50 weeks paid benefits.

What do you mean "neither offers mat leave"? If you are a employee covered by federal legislation, you get maternity leave. I thought most provinces had enacted similar legislation. Or do you just mean your employers don't top-up the EI benefits with partial pay from the company?

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#9 of 14 Old 05-07-2008, 01:16 PM - Thread Starter
 
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My employers do not offer benefits programs. We get no medical, dental, etc coverage, and if you are pregnant, you quit and get nothing. I'm sure, if I want to go back after the babe is born, they would be happy to have me, but there's no mat leave pay or guaranteed job to come back to. I don't work a real job, I work part time for a non-profit and (almost) full time for an outdoor adventure/outfitting company. No benefits.

I'll have to try 1800OCANADA. The woman I was talking to was local - at the local Service Canada office.

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#10 of 14 Old 05-07-2008, 02:58 PM
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I would check with the BBB on that one. It is illegal for an employer to make you quit because you are pg. They have to have a position for you when your year of mat leave is up. It does not have to be the same position, but something none-the-less. If they don't offer you a job, it's descrimination. The mat program is a government funded program and every woman in Canada has access to this program, if they have worked the specific amount of weeks prior to taking the mat leave.

Call BBB (Better Business Bureau). I know tons of mama's who took mat leave knowing they would not be returning to work. It would be silly not to because you are entitled to it.
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#11 of 14 Old 05-07-2008, 03:00 PM
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Your almost full time job is the one that will get you your mat benefits. I worked as a waitress and one of the other waitresses got pg and went on mat leave for a year with benefits. Waitresses do not get benefits. The mat program is government funded and has nothing to do with your employer or the benefits they may or may not offer.
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#12 of 14 Old 05-07-2008, 05:43 PM
 
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I'm guessing what the OP was talking about is that her employers don't TOP UP the mat / parental leave amount supplied by the government?

That's my situation too.

I'm a part time paramedic in BC, and for the longest time I thought that when I went on mat / parental leave, I'd be on my own. I thought only the full timers got mat / parental leave. They're the ones that get the top up, yes ... but I will still (and she will too) qualify for EI mat / parental leave, up to (I think) 55% of wages earned.

So long as you've worked at least 600 hours at ANY combination of jobs in the last 52 weeks, you're eligible.

I was sooooo relieved to discover this. Here I was thinking we'd have to eat beans and rice indefinitely!

I called the number given on the link a PP included and asked a bunch of stupid questions and the woman was awesome! She even told me to bulk up my hours beforehand, so that I could maximize my eventual payout.

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#13 of 14 Old 05-07-2008, 08:34 PM
 
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I started my mat leave about 6 weeks before my due date, and it was great to catch up on sleep and get my To Do list taken care of! There is a one-month (I think? Maybe it was 2 weeks) waiting period where you won't get benefits though.
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#14 of 14 Old 05-07-2008, 08:57 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by selkat View Post
My employers do not offer benefits programs. We get no medical, dental, etc coverage, and if you are pregnant, you quit and get nothing. I'm sure, if I want to go back after the babe is born, they would be happy to have me, but there's no mat leave pay or guaranteed job to come back to. I don't work a real job, I work part time for a non-profit and (almost) full time for an outdoor adventure/outfitting company. No benefits.

I'll have to try 1800OCANADA. The woman I was talking to was local - at the local Service Canada office.
Are you employed or an independent contractor/self employed. If they take off taxes, cpp, etc for you, you're employed and the hours you worked over the past year will mean you're eligible for Mat leave. You'll need to get records of employment from both jobs when you're ready to start. THere is a limit to the number of weeks before your edd that you can start mat leave.
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