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Article | Global News Briefs

Canada: Changes to Québec parental benefits and labor standards

Total Rewards|Health and Benefits|Wellbeing
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By Annie Demers and Carole Goyette | February 16, 2021

Employers should update their leave policies to comply with changes to QPIP benefits for births and adoptions.

Employer Action Code: Act

The changes under Bill 51, which generally are effective for births or adoptions from January 1, 2021, aim to make the Québec Parental Insurance Plan (QPIP) more flexible, encourage greater sharing of parental benefits, provide for special situations and equalize the maximum number of weeks of benefits available to adoptive and birth parents. As before, the first of two parents to submit a benefit application must select either the basic plan or the special plan under the QPIP, which will then also apply to the other parent (the basic plan initially pays 70% of the parent’s average weekly income and the special plan pays 75% of the average weekly income).

Key details

(Note: Benefit percentages below refer to average weekly income.)

Three types of QPIP benefits are available to new adoptive parents, instead of the parental benefits that previously applied:

  • If basic plan selected: 13 shareable weeks of welcome and support (W&S) benefits at 70%, plus five weeks of benefits at 70% for each adoptive parent, plus 32 shareable weeks of benefits (the first seven weeks at 70% and the next 25 weeks at 55%)
  • If special plan selected: 12 shareable weeks of W&S benefits at 75%, plus three weeks of benefits at 75% for each adoptive parent, plus 25 shareable weeks of benefits at 75%

Extended QPIP benefits, for new births or adoptions:

  • Additional four weeks of shareable benefits at 55% if the basic plan was selected and each parent takes at least eight weeks of benefits
  • Additional three weeks of shareable benefits at 75% if the special plan was selected and each parent takes at least six weeks of benefits
  • Additional benefits for each parent if two or more children are born or adopted: five weeks at 70% (basic plan) or three weeks at 75% (special plan)
  • For single parents whose child is born or adopted after 2021: additional five weeks of benefits at 70% (basic plan) or three weeks of benefits at 75% (special plan)

Lengthening of periods during which benefits may be taken, for new births or adoptions:

  • Maternity benefits may be taken up to 20 weeks after birth (was 18 weeks).
  • Paternity, parental or adoption benefits may be taken up to 78 weeks after birth or adoption (was 52 weeks).

Changes were also made to labor standards, bringing them in line with the changes made to the QPIP. Consequently, the period during which a leave may be taken has been changed and the number of weeks of parental leave and adoption leave has been increased.

Employer implications

Employers should review their leave policies to see if they should be updated; assess the consequences and costs for their companies; consider training for managers concerning the longer leave periods and the relevant administrative processes; and evaluate any effects on their supplemental maternity, paternity, parental and adoptive leave plans.

Please note that in Québec, if employees take leave for family reasons, they have the right to continue being covered under their group insurance plan as long as they pay their usual share of the contributions or premiums.

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