Maternity Leave – What’s your story ?

A few weeks ago I came across this“Mapping Paid Maternity Leave” picture and had a look. It was published by The Women in Public Service Project: Think Progress – in the US. After reading other blogs over the last year and seeing that mom’s are heading back to work 6, 8, 10 weeks after their baby arrives kinda made me sad and wondering how do they do it?

Sounds like they just have to do it and that’s life!

I live in Canada where we get paid maternity leave and can take up to one year off work. With 50 weeks being paid at 55% of your wages and some companies provide a “top up” of your salary. The “top up” means that you get paid 55% of your wages from the Government and another amount on top of that from your employer say 25% –  35% for a certain amount of weeks (15 – 17 weeks). It all depends on your employer’s work benefits if you receive any “top up”, what percentage or nothing at all from your employer. Not everyone receive’s a top up.

A few facts about Canadian Maternity Leave:

  • Maternity benefits can be paid up to a maximum of 15 weeks.
  • Parental (Mom or Dad/Partner) benefits can be paid up to a maximum of 35 weeks.
  • Sickness benefits can be paid up to a maximum of 15 weeks.
  • A combination of maternity, parental and sickness benefits can be received up to a combined maximum of 50 weeks.
  • Between you and your partner you have 35 weeks of parental benefits and you can divide those weeks any way you like.
  • For most people, the basic rate for calculating EI benefits is 55% of your average insurable weekly earnings, up to a maximum amount.
  • As of January 1, 2012, the maximum yearly insurable earnings amount is $45,900. This means that you can receive a maximum amount of $485 per week.

*Information from Service Canada. If you want to learn more about Canadian maternity leave, you can check out Service Canada Website for more facts.

Photo Source – From The Women in Public Service Project website.

Think Progress says “Out of 178 nations, the U.S. is one of three that does not offer paid maternity leave benefits, let alone paid leave for fathers, which more than 50 of these nations offer. In comparison, Canada and Norway offer generous benefits that can be shared between the father and mother, France offers about four months, and even Mexico and Pakistan are among the nations offer 12 weeks paid leave for mothers”.

They also say “Women are forced to put their careers and financial future at risk simply because they want to have children. During their pregnancy, they face being fired unfairly or not being able to properly care for themselves. They should not have to worry about making ends meet without paid maternity leave on top of that.”

Now, I am not a US citizen … but I still care about their rights, their life and that’s why I am writing this post today. I don’t normally post about topics like this, but it may just spark a good conversation among bloggers/readers.I’d love to hear your comments on “Mapping Paid Maternity Leave”.

With our daughter, I went off work 4 weeks early due to health challenges – fully expecting to make it to 40 weeks. I went off work on a Friday and ended up having Lilly on Monday, so my maternity leave started then. I took a whole year off. We plan with our second due in December (though may come early also – late November) to take a full year off.

Where do you live and what is/was your maternity leave like?

How long of a maternity leave does your employer allow ?

Did your husband/partner take time off ?

What do you feel is a reasonable time for maternity leave?