Parental LEave 101
You just found out that you are pregnant or that your wife or partner is expecting. What an exciting and overwhelming time in your life! You may feel like you have a lot to do and you are not sure where to start.
First the main concern for non-permanent teachers:
Rights of teachers on priority of employment or recall lists
The school board must, based on your ranking on the list, call you and offer you the same position you would have been offered had you not been on leave. Once you accept the position the board must grant you your maternity leave or a leave-of-absence without salary and find someone to replace you. If you return to work before the end of the year you must be reintegrated into your position. If you are replaced you will accrue the hours associated with the position you accept while on maternity leave.
Regular and replacement teachers continue to benefit from: health insurance, accumulation of sick-leave days, accumulation of seniority, accumulation of experience, accumulation of continuous service of job security, recognition of pensionable service for my retirement plan, the various insurance plans under which you are covered, provided you pay the premiums. (Rights during Maternity, Paternity, or Adoption Leaves, and Extension without salary (5-13.22))
Let’s break the process down into steps. The first step depends on whether or not you are pregnant.
STEP 1 – For Expecting Mothers Who Are Teachers
STEP 1 for non pregnant parents
Go straight to step two!
STEP 2 Decide on QPIP options
You have time to figure this part out. The board and QPIP only need to know about your decision closer to the due date, estimate about a month before you need it to start. Parental benefits are made up of some money from QPIP, and some money from RSB.
Things to consider when selecting your plan:
Will you be sharing the leave with your partner?
What do your finances look like?
When to start it?
What does daycare cost?
Parental leaves are paid for by QPIP. For a certain number of weeks depending on type, the school board also pays you a portion of your salary. THese weeks that RSB pays count as you “working” for your summer pay. After the time when RSB pays you, you will only receive QPIP income. At this point RSB considers you on leave without salary to extend your parental leave. This means you're responsible for your pension contributions (buy-back) and your insurance fees (sent to you from iA). This leave without pay can be extended, but QPIP does end.
There are two basic models of QPIP, both topped up by the school board initially. One is longer, but lower pay. The other is shorter with higher pay. In both cases maternity leave can start anywhere between 16 weeks prior to the due date to 6 weeks after the birth to receive full benefits retroactively.
Paternal leave can be any consecutive set of weeks, during the first year.
Adoption leaves are shared between partners. Leaves must be taken within 78 weeks of adoption. They can start 5 weeks prior to adoption for international adoption. Adoptive parents also have the right to the five-day leave related to the birth of the child.
What if the leave overlaps the summer?
Deferred Summer adjustment Pay
If your maternity, paternity, or adoption leave falls in July and August you can ask to defer your four weeks of annual vacation pay. This deferred pay can be used to extend your “top ups” from the school board beyond the normal number of weeks. This will give you up to 4 extra weeks of “topped up” from the board at the end of your leave but still needs to fall within the weeks prescribed by the QPIP.
Step 3: Notify QPIP and HR
You need to inform the government and school board at least 3 weeks in advance of your expected due date.
Leave Related to the Birth of the Child – 5 paid days (for non-pregnant expectant parents)
This leave will require a medical certificate to be used. The medical certificate can either be provided in advance, or retroactively.
A new father (teacher), female partner (teacher) whose partner gives birth, and teachers adopting are entitled to five working days (these need not be consecutive) paid by their school board at 100% between the beginning of labour and the 15th day following the return home of the partner or baby.
STEP 4: Bond with your child
STEP 5: Coming back to Work
The timing will vary depending on when your leave ends. The school board usually sends you an email requesting to know what your plans are for your return to work as your leave approaches the end. Expect this email around a month before they expect you back.
As you approach the end of your leave you can look into the option of part-time leave without pay. This allows you to return to work and have more time at home with your young baby if you feel the need or desire too. Just a reminder anything over a 20% leave you will require to buy back your pension at the end.
Buy-Back your pension
The term buy-back your pension means that you can catch up on your pension contributions. With every pay both the employer (School Board) and yourself contribute to your pension. When you are on leave without pay, no one is contributing to your pension (not you, or the School Board). That is why when you return to work after your leave without pay, we strongly recommend that you buy-back your pension. “Buy-back allows you to pay to have a leave of absence recognized when you did not contribute to the plan originally. It increases your contributory years (service for calculation), thereby increasing your pension benefit when you retire.” (QPAT Basic Pension Information for QPAT Members p.6). Buy-backs related to parental rights cost less than any other buy-back because you only have to buy-back your portion, not the employer’s. They are required for the time you were receiving only QPIP payments with no RSB contribution.
You fill out a form to apply for a buyback. The form goes to RREGOP who will send you a letter outlining how much the buyback will cost and your options to pay for it. If you do not accept the proposal within 2 months, nothing happens and you need to reapply to buyback. There can be tax implications regarding RRSP contributions. In addition, buy-backs tend to get more expensive the longer you wait.
Links for the buyback form, guide book and estimator.
In step 1 your pensionable income is your gross income minus 15400
In step 2 just put in 200 days, and it will give you an error message with the maximum number of days you could have been off in the time period.
Helpful definitions for terms that will come up:
School Board Definition of Maternity, Paternity, and Adoption Leave
Maternity Leave (5-13.06) from the board is your first 21 weeks, as per our collective agreement. During these 21 weeks RSB will be supplementing your QPIP benefits so that you receive close to 90% of your regular salary. The following weeks (22 and on), depending on the plan you choose, is a leave-of-absence without salary to extend your maternity leave This basically means that you will only be receiving money from QPIP and no longer receiving RSB supplements (top up), nor will you be paying into pension contributions. We encourage you to buy back your pension contributions for your maternity leave without pay, as soon as possible, when you return to work.
Paternity Leave (5-13.31) (fathers or female teachers whose partner/spouse gives birth) is 5 consecutive weeks with the QPIP basic plan, 3 consecutive weeks with the QPIP special plan. During these weeks of paternity leave you will be receiving QPIP and RSB benefits averaging about 100% of your salary. If you take more, we encourage you to buy back your pension contributions for your paternity leave without pay, as soon as possible, when you return to work.
Adoption Leave (5-13.52) each parent is entitled to 5 weeks on the basic plan or 3 weeks special plan. During these weeks a teacher will be entitled to receive QPIP and RSB benefits averaging about 100% of your salary. If you take more, we encourage you to buy back your pension contributions for your paternity leave without pay, as soon as possible, when you return to work.
For more detailed information you can consult the QPAT QPIP booklet and contact RTU or RSB HR.