The City supports employees’ rights to take extended pregnancy and parental leave and provides one of the most generous pregnancy and parental leaves in the public sector. In fact, the City’s pregnancy and parental leave is one of the items cited in our Top 100 Employer award.
A top-up plan is one where the employer supplements what an employee receives from EI while on their pregnancy and parental leave. When the last collective bargaining agreement was negotiated, pregnancy and parental leave was limited to 17 weeks for pregnancy leave and 35 weeks for parental leave (total of 52 weeks or 12 months).
In 2017, the federal government changed the Employment Insurance Act rules by allowing employees the option of extending their pregnancy and parental leave from a maximum of 12 months to up to 18 months. With these EI changes, employees could now take the value of their EI entitlement and spread it over a longer period if they chose to do so.
With this change, the City and other public sector employers with top-up plans have embarked upon updating their collective agreements to mirror the federal model of taking a fixed amount (a top-up entitlement) and allowing employees to spread that amount over an extended period of time if they elect to take a longer leave. Our proposed change would:
- Still provide for a best in class pregnancy and parental leave plan for our employees
- Allow those who want to take an extended leave to spread their top-up supplement over the 18-month period
- Ensure fairness so that employees are provided the same level of top-up whether they take 12 or 18 months leave
Most importantly, under this proposal, employees who elect the 12-month leave will have access to the same total amount of top-up entitlement as those employees who choose to take a longer leave.
As a result of the federal government changes, pregnancy/parental leave costs for Local 416 have increased:
- 2017-2018 increase is 8% ($1.08 million – $1.16 million)
- 2018-2019 increase is 64% ($1.16 million – $1.9 million)
As a result of the federal government changes, pregnancy/parental leave costs for Local 79 have increased:
- 2017-2018 increase is 10% ($5.16 million – $5.68 million)
- 2018-2019 increase is 70% ($5.68 million – $9.66 million)