Maternity & Parental Leave

The addition of a new member to the family is a very exciting and often busy time in one’s life. 

If you are expecting a new baby, you have access to maternity and parental leave under Saskatchewan labour law. During this leave, you may be eligible for employment insurance benefits through the federal government and supplemental employment benefits under the Provincial Collective Bargaining Agreement. It’s important to note that eligibility for each of these benefits is separate and distinct from the other, and provincial and federal legislation are not necessarily aligned.

Effective December 3, parental employment insurance benefits have been changed to give new parents the option of taking up to 18 months of parental leave in exchange for lower EI benefits. Teachers will not automatically have the option to take advantage of this added flexibility unless corresponding changes are made to provincial labour laws.

In the event of an interruption in your pregnancy, maternity or parental leave, please contact the Federation.

Accessing Maternity and Parental Leave

To be eligible for maternity and parental leave, The Saskatchewan Employment Act lists the following requirements:

  • You must be employed under contract for at least 13 weeks before your leave is to begin.
  • If you have fewer than 13 weeks’ employment, leave is at the discretion of the school board.
  • A mother is entitled to 18 weeks of maternity leave plus 34 weeks of parental leave (total 52 weeks).
  • A parent is entitled to 37 weeks of parental leave.
  • All maternity and parental leaves must be completed within one year of the child’s birth. 

Government Employment Insurance Benefits

Employment insurance provides maternity and parental benefits to individuals who are pregnant, have recently given birth, are adopting a child or are caring for a newborn.

Maternity Benefits

EI maternity benefits are offered to biological mothers, including surrogate mothers, who cannot work because they are pregnant or have recently given birth. A maximum of 15 weeks of EI maternity benefits is available. The 15 weeks can start as early as twelve weeks before the expected date of birth and can end as late as 17 weeks after the actual date of birth.

Parental Benefits

EI parental benefits are offered to biological, adoptive and legally recognized parents who are caring for a newborn or newly adopted child.

When applying for benefits, eligible parents are given the option to receive either standard parental benefits or reduced benefits over an extended period.

  • Standard Parental Benefit
    A maximum of 35 weeks of EI parental benefits over a period of up to 12 months is available to eligible parents. The two parents can share these 35 weeks of benefits.
     
  • Extended Parental Benefits
    A maximum of 61 weeks of reduced EI parental benefits over a period of up to 18 months is available to eligible parents. The two parents can share these 61 weeks of benefits.

Please note that teachers do not automatically have the option to choose extended parental benefits. Unless provincial labour laws are changed to ensure job protection while accessing extended parental leave, teachers are not guaranteed to receive the extra time off.

Minimum Insurable Hours

Employment insurance requires you to have worked a minimum of 600 insured hours in the last year or since your last claim for EI benefits. Your weekly insurable hours = 600 hours/47.5 (per week, pro-rated based on contract time or substitute teaching) = 64 teaching days or 12.63 weeks (for a full-time contract). 

Waiting Period

A one-week waiting period is required; if the one-week waiting period is served by the birth mother, it does not need to be served again to access the parental benefit.

Payment Criteria

Benefit payments must be made within 52 weeks of the week your child was born or the week your child was placed with you for adoption.

Prior to application for EI maternity benefits, contact Service Canada to confirm whether or not you are eligible for the EI benefit. There are certain exceptions to the “previous 52 weeks” eligibility requirement.

Prior to the birth of your child, contact Service Canada for application information.

When you begin maternity leave, and no more than four weeks after the birth of your baby, apply for EI benefits. It is important to note that maternity and parental benefits are available during non-teaching periods.

Within two weeks of your application for EI benefits, obtain and submit your Record of Employment form from your school board.

In the event of an interruption in your pregnancy, maternity or parental leave, please contact the Federation.

Supplemental Employment Benefits Plan

The Supplemental Employment Benefits Plan tops up EI benefits for birth mothers to 95 percent of salary for teaching days lost during the eligible period. The SEB Plan was negotiated within the Provincial Collective Bargaining Agreement by the Saskatchewan Teachers’ Federation and the Government-Trustee Bargaining Committee.

The SEB Plan benefits are designed to provide up to 17 weeks of salary top up for the days when teachers would receive salary during the 197 days of the school year.

Supplemental employment benefits will begin on the estimated date of birth or the date of delivery, whichever is earlier.

A teacher is eligible for SEB Plan benefits if she is:

  1. Medically unfit for duty as a teacher for health related reasons due to pregnancy, delivery or post-delivery;
  2. In receipt of EI benefits when serving the one-week waiting period or in the period between the estimated date of birth or date of delivery, whichever is earlier, and the conclusion of the one-week waiting period; and,
  3. On maternity leave.

Prior to submitting your notice of leave to your school board:

  • Obtain a written statement from your physician verifying your pregnancy and the estimated date of birth of your child.

At least four weeks prior to the commencement of your leave:

  • Write a letter notifying your school board of the date you anticipate commencing your maternity leave and include an expected return date. 
    • Note: It is recommended that your maternity leave commence on your expected due date.

  • Fill out  Form 8-I: Application – Supplemental Employment Benefits.
  • Enclose the physician’s statement and Form 8-I with your letter notifying your school board of your intention to take a maternity leave.

Approximately two weeks prior to expected delivery:

  • Verify receipt of documentation with your school board.

Immediately following the birth of your child:

  • Fill in the teacher portion of  Form 8-II: Practitioner’s Report – Confirmation of Date of Delivery. Take this form to the hospital and have your attending practitioner fill in the attending practitioner’s statement confirming actual date of delivery of your child.
  • Send Form 8-II to your school board. This form will initiate calculation and payment of your SEB (top-up) benefit. (Must be done no later than 120 days following the birth of your child).
  • Submit to your school board a copy of your confirmation of EI benefit documentation.

At least four weeks prior to your return date:

  • Write a letter notifying your school board of your return date.

Pension and Group Benefits While on Leave

Your health and dental benefit coverage remains in place during your school board-approved maternity or parenting leave.

To avoid interruption of benefits, complete an STF Change of Information form, indicating your period of leave. Return the form to the Federation, along with the letter from your school board approving your leave.  This form should be completed each time there is a change in your personal circumstances (i.e., going on leave, the birth of a child, return to work, or change in your mail or email address).

You must also complete a Teachers’ Dental Plan Change of Information form and send it to the Saskatchewan Teachers’ Superannuation Commission.

To add a new child as a dependant under the Members’ Health Plan, log in to MySTF and change your dependants online, or include your child’s information on the  STF Change of Information form.

To add a new child as a dependant under the dental plan, complete a Teachers’ Dental Plan Change of Information form, and send it to the Saskatchewan Teachers’ Superannuation Commission.

If you are on maternity or parental leave when school opens, you must apply and pay the premiums by September 30 to continue your group life insurance for that academic year. If you are actively teaching at the start of the school year and go on leave before June 30, the balance of the remaining premiums for that year will be deducted from your last paycheque.

For each subsequent academic year you are on leave, you must apply and pay the premiums to the Saskatchewan Teachers’ Superannuation Commission by September 30 to continue group life insurance coverage.

When you return to teaching duties, confirm with your school board that group life insurance premiums are not deducted twice.

After your child is born, complete the Group Life Insurance Beneficiary Update form

Contact the Saskatchewan Teachers’ Superannuation Commission for more information. 

While you are receiving SEB Plan benefits, your school board will deduct pension contributions and you will accrue pension service.

You may purchase the balance of the parenting leave for pension purposes. No interest is charged if purchased within one year of the end of your leave. Leave periods ending in July or August will be deemed to have ended on June 30. If you are on parenting leave for more than 12 months at one time, your leave will be treated as two separate leaves of up to 12 months each. Contact the Saskatchewan Teachers’ Retirement Plan office for more information.

You may want to update your STRP Beneficiary Designation form.

If you are presently participating in Portaplan, your coverage continues as long as premiums are paid when due.

If you already have Portaplan dependant life insurance, you may want to add your baby as a beneficiary. If you do not yet have Dependant Life Insurance, you can purchase it as an addition to your Portaplan policy.

Medical evidence is not required within the first year of gaining the dependant. No medical evidence is required for a second or subsequent dependant.

Other Considerations

The period of time in which you are receiving SEB is recognized as teaching service for salary increment purposes. Confirm your increment date is recalculated by contacting your Human Resources department when you return to teaching duties.

Additional sick leave days accumulate during the period of the leave during which you are in receipt of SEB Plan benefits. Accumulated credits in a teacher’s accumulated sick leave record are not forfeited during periods of board approved leave.

Confirm with payroll that your record of accumulated sick leave is accurate.