Parents of a newborn or a newly adopted child are entitled to parental leave without pay of up to 65 weeks. If the birth occurred before January 1, 2021, parental leave can be up to 52 weeks. During their leave, their employment relationship with their employer is protected. Parents may be entitled to benefits under the Québec Parental Insurance Plan.
Beginning and end of parental leave
In the case of a birth, parental leave begins the week of the child's birth. It is in addition to the 18-week maternity leave or the 5-week paternity leave. The leave ends no later than 78 weeks after the child’s birth or no later than 70 weeks if the birth occurred before January 1 2021.
In the case of an adoption, each adoptive parent is also entitled to 65 weeks of parental leave. The leave may begin no earlier than the week in which the child is entrusted to their adoptive parents or when the parents leave work to travel outside Québec to pick up their child. The leave ends no later than 78 weeks after this. For the parents who adopted a child before January 1 2021, the maximum length of parental leave is 52 weeks and the leave must end no later than 70 weeks after the adoption.
In the case of a same-sex couple, both parents are entitled to parental leave if the relationship between the child and their fathers or mothers was established in the birth certificate or adoption judgment.
At the request of the parent, the leave is suspended, divided or extended if the health conditions of the parent or the child required it. In some situations, at the request of the parent and if the employer agrees, the leave may be split into weeks.
Informing the employer
The worker must give their employer verbal or written notice specifying the date their leave will begin and the date they expect to return to work at least 3 weeks before they go on leave. This period may be shorter if the parent must stay with the child or the mother because of their health.
Return to work
When the parent returns to work, the employer must reinstate them in their regular position and give them the wages and benefits they would have been entitled to had they remained at work.
The parent may return to work before the date stated in their written notice. They must give the employer new notice, in writing, 3 weeks before the date of their return.
If their position was abolished while they were on leave, the parent retains the same rights and privileges they would have been entitled to had they remained at work.
If the parent does not return to work on the scheduled date, their employer may consider them to have resigned. However, it is preferable for the employer to try to contact the person before the end of their leave to confirm their return date.
Part-time or intermittent return
The parent may return to work on a part-time or intermittent basis if their employer agrees. The maximum length of parental leave is still 65 weeks and the leave must end no later than 78 weeks after the birth or adoption. If the birth occurred before January 1, 2021, the maximum length of parental leave is 52 weeks and the leave must end no later than 70 weeks after the birth or adoption.
For example, if the employer agrees to a return to work for two days a week during parental leave, the person is still considered to be on parental leave during this time.