What are maternity and parental benefits?

Maternity and parental benefits are types of Employment Insurance benefits.

You can apply for these benefits if you are:

  • Pregnant
  • A mother or father caring for a newborn baby or an adopted child

Am I eligible for maternity and parental benefits?


To be eligible for maternity or parental benefits you must show:

  • You are losing 40% or more of your weekly income;
  • You have worked 600 hours or more during the last 52 weeks or since your last claim; and
  • When you expect your baby to be born, the date your baby was born, or when your adopted child was placed with you.

Only mothers can be eligible for maternity benefits. Both mothers and fathers can be eligible for parental benefits.

Find detailed information about who is eligible for maternity and parental benefits.

How much are maternity and parental benefits?


Usually, maternity and parental benefits are 55% of your average insured income, up to $543 per week for standard benefits and 33% of your average insured income, up to $326 per week for extended benefits.


Maternity and parental benefit payments are taxable, which means that the government will take taxes from your payment. Find detailed information about how the government calculates your EI payments.


If you are from a low-income family, you may qualify for more. Find more information about how you may get more from the family supplement.

What’s the difference between Standard and Extended Benefits?

  • Standard Benefit - You and the other parent can get parental benefits for up to 35 weeks, which can be divided however you choose. The 35 weeks must be in the 12 months after the child is born or adopted.
  • Extended Benefit - You and the other parent can get parental benefits for up to 61 weeks, which can be divided however you choose. The 61 weeks must be in the 18 months after the child is born or adopted.

You receive the same amount of money from EI through the standard and extended benefit, but the payments are distributed differently.

Extended parental benefits are available to you if your child was born or placed for adoption on or after December 3, 2017.

How long can I get maternity and parental benefits?


You can get maternity benefits for a maximum of 15 weeks and start collecting benefits up to 12 weeks before your due date.

You can get standard parental benefits for a maximum of 35 weeks and combine these with maternity benefits for a total of 50 weeks.

You can get extended parental benefits for a maximum of 61 weeks and combine these with maternity benefits for a total of 76 weeks.

You can also combine maternity or parental benefits with sickness benefits. There are some restrictions about when the period can start and end. 


Find detailed information about the period that you can get maternity and parental benefits.

For More Information

Last updated: December 11, 2017 4001638