paternity leave in ontario

Paternity Leave Ontario Explained

In Ontario, parents have the opportunity to take a job-protected leave of absence, commonly known as “parental leave,” following the birth or adoption of their child. Paternity leave, specifically designed for fathers, falls under this broader category of parental leave.

Legal Framework

Parental leave in Ontario is governed by the Employment Standards Act, 2000 (ESA), while parental benefits are regulated by the federal Employment Insurance Act (EI).

ESA Parental Leave – up to 63 Weeks

Under the ESA, both new parents, including birth parents, adoptive parents, or those in a permanent relationship with a parent, are entitled to parental leave. Fathers can take up to 63 weeks of job-protected parental leave, beginning within 78 weeks of the child’s birth or adoption.

EI Parental Benefits – up to 61 Weeks

The EI program provides standard and extended options for parental benefits. The standard option offers 40 weeks of parental leave within 12 months, paid at 55% of average insurable earnings. The extended option allows 69 weeks within 18 months, with parental leave paid at 33% of average insurable earnings.

Ready to Understand Maternity and Parental Leave Rights?

Whether you’re expecting a child or managing your team’s parental leave requests, knowing your legal rights and responsibilities is key. Achkar Law offers comprehensive support to navigate maternity and parental leave laws in Ontario. Gain peace of mind by understanding your leave entitlements and how to apply them in your workplace or personal situation.

Paternity Leave Entitlements Table

Program Weeks Entitled Payment Rate Additional Information
ESA Parental Leave Up to 63 weeks Unpaid Begins within 78 weeks of birth/adoption; applies to all parents
EI Standard Option Up to 40 weeks 55% of earnings, up to $650/week Must be taken within 12 months of birth/adoption
EI Extended Option Up to 69 weeks 33% of earnings, up to $390/week Must be taken within 18 months of birth/adoption

Paternity Leave vs. Parental Leave

While parental leave encompasses time off for both parents after the birth or adoption, paternity leave specifically caters to fathers.

“Parent” According to the ESA

The ESA defines “parent” broadly, including birth parents, adoptive parents, and individuals in permanent relationships with a parent of the child, intending to treat the child as their own.

Qualifying for Parental Leave in Ontario

New parents qualify for parental leave in Ontario if employed by an ESA-covered employer for at least 13 weeks before commencing leave.

Employment Rights for Parents Taking Paternity Leave

Reinstatement: Employees taking paternity leave are entitled to return to their previous or a comparable job, with at least the same pay.

Free From Penalty: Employers cannot penalize employees for taking or planning paternity leave, considered a reprisal.

Participating in Benefit Plans: Employees retain the right to participate in employer benefit plans during paternity leave.

Recognizing Tenure: Employees continue to earn tenure credits during paternity leave, ensuring continuity.

Explore Our Maternity and Parental Leave Hub

Looking for comprehensive information on maternity and parental leave? Visit our Maternity and Parental Leave Hub for a wealth of resources designed to help you understand your rights, responsibilities, and options. Whether you’re an expecting parent or an employer, our hub offers detailed guides, tips, and support to navigate leave in Ontario effectively.


Seek Legal Guidance with Achkar Law

Understanding paternity leave in Ontario does not have to be an effort. If you have questions, concerns, or need personalized legal advice regarding paternity leave, our team at Achkar Law is here to assist you. Your rights matter, and we are dedicated to ensuring you have the information you need.

Do not hesitate to reach out. Call Achkar Law today to speak with our experienced employment lawyers. Your path to understanding and securing paternity leave rights starts here.

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