Pregnancy and Parental Leave : NS Labour and Advanced Education, Employment Rights

Who qualifies for pregnancy leave?

A pregnant employee who has been employed with the same employer for a least one year would qualify for pregnancy leave.


Who qualifies for parental leave?

An employee who has been employed with the same employer for at least one year and who becomes a parent as a result of the birth of a child or through adoption would qualify for parental leave.


What is the maximum pregnancy or parental leave an employee can take?

The maximum pregnancy leave an employee can take is 17 weeks. The maximum parental leave an employee can take is 52 weeks if the employee has not also taken pregnancy leave. If the employee has also taken pregnancy leave, the employee can take a maximum of only 35 weeks of parental leave for a combined total of 52 weeks.


If an employee takes both pregnancy and parental leave, can she choose when to take the parental part of her leave?

When an employee takes both leaves, parental leave must begin immediately after the pregnancy leave ends. The employee cannot, therefore, return to work for a period of time after her pregnancy leave ends and then take parental leave.


Does an employer have to pay an employee wages when the employee takes pregnancy and/or parental leave?

Both pregnancy and parental leave are unpaid leaves from work under the Labour Standards Code. However, Employment Insurance may be available to employees who take these leaves. (Human Resources and Social Development Canada (HRSDC))


Can an employer end an employee's employment while the employee is on pregnancy or parental leave?

When an employee returns from pregnancy and/or parental leave, the employee must be accepted back into the same position or a comparable one with no loss of seniority or benefits. There are some situations where an employer may not be required to accept the employee back to work. See section 30(2) of the Labour Standards Code.

If an employer did not allow an employee to return from pregnancy/parental leave, the employee could, possibly, make a complaint to the Human Rights Commission as well as to the Labour Standards Division.


Do employee's accumulate vacation leave while they are on pregnancy/parental leave?

No, employees do not earn vacation leave while they are on pregnancy or parental leave.


What if an employee needs pregnancy leave but has been employed for less than one year?

The employee may want to contact the Nova Scotia Human Rights Commission to ask about her rights under the Human Rights Act.