Parental leave and preventive withdrawal

Leave under the Act respecting labour standards

Commission des normes, de l’équité, de la santé et de la sécurité du travail

The paid and unpaid leave you are entitled to is specified in the Act respecting labour standards. While the Act protects the majority of salaried employees in Québec, some are totally or partially excluded. Unionized employees should check the clauses in their collective agreements dealing with leave.

The Act respecting labour standards also provides for unexpected events that may occur during certain types of leave; other provisions allow you to be absent to fulfill obligations related to your child’s care, health or education. Contact the Commission des normes, de l’équité, de la santé et de la sécurité du travail for details.

Note that some leave that is unpaid under the Act respecting labour standards is paid, in whole or in part, under the Québec Parental Insurance Plan (see Québec Parental Insurance Plan).

To avail yourself of any of the leaves described in this section, you must meet certain eligibility requirements.

Leave granted for medical examinations related to pregnancy

You may be absent from work, without pay, for medical examinations related to your pregnancy. You must notify your employer as soon as possible of the time you will be away.

Maternity leave

Generally speaking, if you are a salaried employee and pregnant, you are entitled to take up to 18 consecutive weeks of maternity leave without pay. The maternity leave may not begin before the 16th week preceding the expected date of delivery.

At least three weeks before you start your leave, or less if your state of health forces you to leave sooner, you must give written notice to your employer, stating the date on which your maternity leave will begin and the anticipated date of your return to work. The notice must be accompanied by a detailed medical certificate or a written report signed by a midwife.

At the end of your maternity leave, the employer must reinstate you in your former position and give you the same salary and benefits to which you would have been entitled had you remained at work.

Spousal leave (birth or adoption)

You may be absent from work for five days at the birth of your child, the adoption of a child (including your spouse’s child) or if there is a termination of pregnancy in or after the 20th week of pregnancy. The first two days are paid.

At your request, these five day of leave may be taken one day at a time, not necessarily consecutively. This leave may not be taken more than 15 days after the child’s arrival at home or after the termination of pregnancy.

Paternity leave

You are entitled to take up to five consecutive weeks of unpaid paternity leave upon the birth of your child. You may not transfer your paternity leave to the mother of your child or divide it between you. Paternity leave is in addition to the five days of leave (see above “Spousal leave (birth or adoption)”). It may not begin before the week of your child’s birth and must not end later than 52 weeks after the week of the birth.

Parental leave

The mother and father of a newborn as well as anyone who adopts a child (including their spouse’s child) are entitled to parental leave without pay of up to 52 consecutive weeks.

Parental leave is in addition to the maternity leave of up to 18 weeks or, in the case of the father, paternity leave of up to 5 weeks. Parental leave may not begin before the week in which your child is born or, in the case of adoption, the week the child is entrusted to your care, or the week in which you leave your work to go to a place outside Québec to pick up the child. Parental leave ends no later than 70 weeks after the birth of your child or, in the case of adoption, 70 weeks after the child was entrusted to your care.

You must give your employer at least three weeks’ notice prior to taking parental leave, indicating the date on which your leave will begin and the date on which you will return to work. Notice may be shorter in certain cases.

For more information, contact the Commission des normes, de l’équité, de la santé et de la sécurité du travail.

Online
www.cnesst.gouv.qc.ca

By telephone
Throughout Québec: 1-844-838-0808

For a Safe Maternity Experience program

Commission des normes, de l’équité, de la santé et de la sécurité du travail

Pregnant or nursing workers enjoy special protection under the Act respecting occupational health and safety.

If you are pregnant and your working conditions are dangerous to your health or that of your unborn child, you are entitled to be reassigned to duties that involve no such danger and that you are capable of performing.

If your duties or work station cannot be modified, if you cannot be assigned to other duties or if the danger cannot be eliminated at the source, you may temporarily stop working and receive compensation from the Commission des normes, de l’équité, de la santé et de la sécurité du travail.

This is not maternity leave, but rather a preventive program whose main objective is to allow you to continue working in a safe environment. To avail yourself of this program, you must ask your physician to complete the Preventive withdrawal and re‑assignment certificate for a pregnant or breast‑feeding worker form.

For the certificate to be valid, your physician must consult the physician in charge of health services for the establishment where you are employed or the physician designated by the public health director of the region in which the establishment is located. There is no charge to obtain the certificate.

If you are nursing your child and wish to avail yourself of the For a Safe Maternity Experience program, you will need to obtain a new certificate, even if you were reassigned or benefited from preventive withdrawal while pregnant. In the case of nursing mothers, only conditions that could harm the child are taken into consideration.

For more information, contact the Commission des normes, de l’équité, de la santé et de la sécurité du travail.

Online
www.cnesst.gouv.qc.ca

By telephone
Throughout Québec: 1-844-838-0808