The federal government’s election platform included a promise of more flexible parental leave and an extension of parental leave to 18 months. In a comprehensive submission, Restaurants Canada objected to proposed rules that would have given workers on parental leave the flexibility to start and stop their leave over an 18 month period or the extension of full benefits over an 18 month period. The government listened. The measures announced in the 2017 federal budget, which will start to be implemented on December 3, do improve access to better parental benefits and caregivers benefits, but with less disruption and cost than initially proposed.
Here are the most significant changes for employers and employees in the foodservice industry.
- Caregivers who provide care to a critically ill or injured adult family member will have access to a new benefit of up to 15 weeks.
- Parents will be able to choose between two options: standard parental benefits (taken over 12 months) or extended parental benefits (taken over 18 months).
- Eligible pregnant workers will be able to receive EI maternity benefits earlier, up to 12 weeks before their due date.
Changes to caregiving benefits will apply everywhere. Parental benefits provisions will apply across the country, except Quebec, which already has an even more generous benefit package.
The new measures could have an impact on future availability of current employees but should not result in a direct cost to employers. The cost of these new benefits was factored into the 2018 EI rates announced this fall.