Pregnancy / parental leave benefit summary table

The following tables provide an overview of:

  1. Job protected leave time 
  2. Employment Insurance income continuance benefits
  3. University of Waterloo supplementary birth leave and top-up benefits
  4. Support for nursing mothers

Note: Eligibility for Employment Insurance benefits is assessed on a person by person basis by Service Canada, and eligibility for University of Waterloo supplementary benefits is assessed on a person by person basis by Human Resources.


Job protected time away from work provided under the Ontario Ministry of Labour Employment Standards Act (ESA)

Leave time available Eligibility Benefit How to apply
Pregnancy leave

Available to birth mothers whether they are full-time, part-time, permanent or on a fixed term contract

Must have commenced employment with the University of Waterloo at least 13 weeks prior to the expected due date

Maximum of 17 weeks unpaid pregnancy leave

Submit an absence request on Workday and select Pregnancy/Parental/Adoption > Pregnancy/Parental in the Type field. You will be required to attach a doctor’s note indicating the due date in the attachment field. Please submit this request ideally one month prior to the start of your leave, but at a minimum at least two weeks prior to the start of your leave.

Parental leave

Available to new parents, whether they are full-time, part-time, permanent or on a fixed term contract

Must have commenced employment with the University of Waterloo at least 13 weeks prior to the parental leave beginning

Maximum of 61 weeks unpaid parental leave for a birth mother who has taken pregnancy leave 

Maximum of 63 weeks unpaid parental leave for a parent who has not taken pregnancy leave, including same-sex partners

Submit an absence request on Workday and select Pregnancy/Parental/Adoption > Pregnancy/Parental in the Type field. You will be required to attach a doctor’s note indicating the due date in the attachment field. Please submit this request ideally one month prior to the start of your leave, but at a minimum at least two weeks prior to the start of your leave.

Employment Insurance (EI) benefits provided by Service Canada

Employment insurance benefit Eligibility Benefit How to apply
Maternity benefits

Available to biological mothers who are unable to work because they are pregnant or have recently given birth

Must have worked at least 600 insurable hours in the last 52 weeks or since your last EI claim

Must serve a two-week waiting period where no benefits are payable

Maximum of 15 weeks of maternity benefits payable at 55% of your average insurable weekly earnings to the maximum weekly EI benefit Apply on-line or in person at your nearest Service Canada location as soon as possible after you have stopped working
Parental benefits

Available to parents who are caring for a newborn or newly adopted child

Must have worked at least 600 insurable hours in the last 52 weeks or since your last EI claim

Must serve a two-week waiting period where no benefits are payable (the waiting period only has to be satisfied once for the family and so may not apply if it was already satisfied)

Standard Parental Leave:

Paid for a maximum of 35 weeks and must be claimed within a 52 week period (12 months) after the week the child was born or placed for the purpose of adoption. The weekly benefit rate is 55% of the claimant’s average weekly insurable earnings up to a maximum amount.

Extended Parental Leave:

Paid for a maximum of 61 weeks and must be claimed within a 78-week period (18 months) after the week the child was born or placed for the purpose of adoption. The benefit rate is 33% of the claimant’s average weekly insurable earnings up to a maximum amount.

NOTE: Parents can share the 35 week EI parental benefit. Total EI benefits will not exceed 50 weeks (standard leave) or 76 (extended leave) for the family.
Apply on-line or in person at your nearest Service Canada location as soon as possible after you have stopped working

University of Waterloo supplementary income benefits provided under Policy 14

UW provided benefit Eligibility Benefit How to apply
Maternity benefits

Available to birth mothers

Employee must be in a regular full or part-time role with the University for a period of at least six months prior to the expected birth date, and must have an expected appointment duration of two years or more

In the case of definite term appointments, the appointment duration must extend at least six months after the birth mother is expected to return to work

100% of salary in place at the time the leave begins for the first 6 weeks of the pregnancy leave period Provided a Pregnancy/Parental absence request has been submitted on Workday, Human Resources will assess your eligibility for this benefit and pay it automatically
Parental benefits

Employee must be in a regular full or part-time role with the University for a period of at least six months prior to the expected birth or adoption date, and must have an expected appointment duration of two years or more

In the case of definite term appointments, the appointment duration must extend at least six months after the employee is expected to return to work

Must be receiving EI Pregnancy or Parental benefits.

If both parents work at Waterloo, they may share the maximum 17 weeks of top-up providing both parents are receiving EI benefits.

Must return to work for the University for the equivalent of six months full-time following leave in order to keep the top-up benefit.  If your plans to return are uncertain it is recommended that you do not take the top-up until you’ve committed to returning to work as required

Standard Parental Leave:

17 weeks of UW top-up to 95% of gross salary integrated with 55% EI benefit. 

Extended Parental Leave:

17 weeks of UW top-up integrated with 33% EI benefit. Top-up amount is equivalent to Standard Parental Leave benefit amount.

Where both parents are employees of the University they have the option of sharing the parental leave and top-up benefit, however, the total benefit paid will not exceed 17 weeks.

Parents who are not taking pregnancy leave, and choose not to take parental leave, can arrange with their managers to take 10 paid days off around the time of the birth/adoption.

Provide Payroll with a copy of your EI statement showing the amount of your weekly benefit.  Proof of EI benefits can be emailed to hrhelp or dropped off at EC1
Parental Time Off Employee must be in a regular full or part-time role with the University for a period of at least six months prior to the expected birth or adoption date, and must have an expected appointment duration of two years or more. 100% of salary for 10 days at the time of the birth for UW employee not taking parental leave. Submit an absence request on Workday and select Pregnancy/Parental/Adoption > Parental Time Off Plan in the Type field. Please submit this request ideally one month prior to the start of your time off, but at a minimum at least two weeks prior to the start.

Support for nursing mothers

Waterloo female students (with an office), staff, and faculty have a resource at their disposal to assist breast feeding moms on campus.  Danby compact refrigerators are available to be loaned out for the purposes of storing breast milk in individual offices.  Each fridge measures approximately 18”x19”x20” and should fit easily on or below most tables. 

To make arrangements to have a fridge delivered, please contact the Equity Office with your name; building; room number and when you will need the fridge. Users should be aware that all fridges must be cleaned thoroughly before being returned to Central Stores.

Questions can be directed to the Equity Office.

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