Top-up while on Maternity Leave: What Are the Rules?

Apr 4, 2013

Becoming a first time parent it is not an easy decision, especially in a time when the unemployment rate is relatively high and there are many new candidates to choose from. The decision is even harder for a long-term, full-time employee. Most new parents are faced with worries about keeping their position once their maternity/parental leave is over and whether they will find themselves among those other candidates looking for a new job.
Being on parental/ maternity leave will change or eliminate your salary, possibly leaving you in a situation where you’re not earning enough to cover your needs. Some employees might qualify for Employment Insurance Benefits and some may be offered a top-up from their employer.
Daniel Lublin’s Column on Maternity Leave Top-up Rules
Being an employment expert, Daniel Lublin, Toronto Employment Lawyer has often been asked to clarify and explain issues related to maternity/parental leave.  He recently answered a reader’s question in his Globe and Mail column “Do I have to repay my maternity top-up if I’m let go?” regarding the top-up issue and whether that has to be repaid to the employer if the employee is terminated.
As Mr. Lublin has explained, employers are not required to pay any salary to an employee off on pregnancy or parental leave.  However, a top-up contract is an agreement to pay some of an employee’s salary, or to “top up” their income, while they are on pregnancy or parental leave by paying the difference between what employment insurance pays and the employee’s salary.  These contracts usually state that an employee is responsible for repaying that money only if he or she voluntarily leaves the company within a certain period of time after their leave ends.
For More Information on Maternity Leave Top-up Rules
This topic is without a doubt, one of the most misunderstood and contentious issues in employment law and finding the right answer when it comes to maternity/parental leave may not be easy.  Although a lot of information on Employment Insurance can be found on the government’s website, it is always best to consult with an employment lawyer who can guide you through the process and advise you of your options when it comes to maternity/parental leave.

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