Maternity Leave and Child Care Leave

Under New Brunswick’s Employment Standards Act (ESA), employees have the right to certain job-protected leaves of absence. The ESA ensures employees can take time off work for numerous reasons and return to their job without concern. This includes long-term leaves of absence such as maternity leave and child care leave.

Employer Obligations for Maternity Leave and Child Care Leave

Employers are responsible for providing time off for maternity leave and/or parental leave as set out in the Employment Standards Code.

Maternity Leave

Maternity leave is an unpaid, job-protected leave for pregnant employees to take time off for the birth of their child. Birth mothers have the right to take up to 17 consecutive weeks of leave and can start the leave as early as 13 weeks before the due date.

Child Care Leave

Child Care Leave is an unpaid, job-protected leave for birth and adoptive parents to take up to 62 weeks off for the birth or adoption of a child. Employees who qualify for parental leave include:

  • Birth mothers (immediately following maternity leave)
  • The other parent
  • Adoptive parents
  • Both parents, shared between them

The start of parental leave can begin any time after the birth or adoption of a child. However, it must be completed within 78 weeks of the birth or placement date.

Notice Requirement

Your employee must provide written notice at least 4 months before taking maternity or child care leave. While a return date is not required in the notice, employees are expected to give at least 4 weeks’ notice in writing of their intended return to work date.

As an employer, you may request, in writing, that your employee start maternity leave earlier if the pregnancy is interfering with their job performance. Any employer-imposed leave of absence would be in addition to any maternity leave the employee is entitled to under the Employment Standards Act. The maternity leave is not
affected by the employer-imposed leave.

What are your employer obligations for maternity leave and parental leave? 

If you’re unsure about your obligations to provide maternity leave, parental leave, or other leaves of absence, call Employer Line. You can reach our HR experts for free employer advice at 1 (888) 219-8767.