Pregnancy Leave and Parental Leave
Under Newfoundland and Labrador’s Labour Standards Act (LSA), employees have the right to certain job-protected leaves of absence. The LSA 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 pregnancy leave and parental leave.
Employer Obligations for Pregnancy Leave and Parental Leave
Employers are responsible for providing time off for maternity leave and parental leave as set out in the LSA.
To qualify for pregnancy leave, an employee must have been employed by the same employer for at least 20 consecutive weeks. The employee must give at least 2 weeks’ notice along with a letter from a medical practitioner stating the estimated birth date. The leave can be up to 17 weeks unpaid. It is often followed immediately by parental leave. Furthermore:
- Pregnancy Leave may start no earlier than 17 weeks before the expected birth date.
- 4 weeks written notice is required if the employee plans to return to work earlier than the maximum time allowed for pregnancy leave or if they do not intend to take parental leave.
- Upon return to work, the employee should be placed in the same or similar position with the same duties, benefits and wages they had prior to Pregnancy Leave.
Parental Leave usually follows maternity leave. It can be taken by either the mother or father.
The employee must have been employed by the same employer for at least 20 consecutive weeks and be the parent of a child. The employee must give at least 2 weeks written notice of the date the leave is to begin. This leave can be up to 61 weeks unpaid.
- Parental Leave must start within 35 weeks of the birth of the child or when the child comes into the custody and care of the parent for the first time.
- If Pregnancy Leave was taken then Parental Leave must begin when the Pregnancy Leave ends unless the child has not come into the care of the parent for the first time.
- 4 weeks written notice is required if the employee plans to return to work before the end of the 61 weeks.
- Upon return to work, the employee should be placed in the same or similar position with the same duties, benefits and wages they had prior to Parental Leave.
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 Labour Standards Act. The maternity leave is not
affected by the employer-imposed leave.
What are your employer obligations for pregnancy leave and parental leave?
If you’re unsure about your obligations to provide pregnancy 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.