Congratulations on the arrival of your baby! There are a few tasks we recommend you complete during your leave as outlined below. However once these are completed, we hope you are able to turn your focus and energy on caring for yourself and family. Enjoy this special time with your little one!
In this section, we will cover:
RESIDENT DOCTORS OF BC COLLECTIVE AGREEMENT
Parental leave for birth mothers in the Collective Agreement is 35 weeks in addition to 17 weeks maternity leave. There is the option to take an extended maternity leave, but we would recommend you discuss this with your program director if this is something you are considering. Birth mothers are entitled to up to 6 additional consecutive weeks of leave if a medical practitioner certifies that she is unable to return to work when her leave ends due to reasons related to birth or termination of pregnancy.
An additional 5 consecutive weeks of leave without pay is available in the unfortunate circumstance that a child suffers from a physical, psychological, or emotional condition requiring additional parental care. A letter from a medical practitioner is required, and this leave must begin immediately following the 52 weeks of leave.
Thus, the maximum combined entitlement to leave for birth mothers as per our collective agreement is 63 weeks i.e.combination of maternity leave (52 weeks) + medical leave (5 weeks) + special circumstance (6 weeks).
WHEN TO BEGIN MATERNITY LEAVE
As always, this is a very personalized decision and will depend on when you feel is right for yourself and for your family. Your program will likely ask you fairly early on upon disclosing your pregnancy when you will take leave from the program. For those who are experiencing their first pregnancy, this can be an especially challenging question as there are so many uncertainties ahead of you. This is something you have never experienced before, so it may seem difficult to plan ahead. Don't worry, we have been there too, and understand what that feels like!
It might be helpful to know that there are some advantages to taking your maternity leave on (or close to) your baby's due date. If you are unable to work until that date based on an assessment from your medical practitioner, you may opt to start a medical leave prior to your maternity leave (requires you to submit a doctor's note to your Program). As resident doctors, we are eligible to up to 5-months of paid medical leave. During a medical leave you are paid your normal resident wage with ongoing extended health benefits as though you are not absent. You do not begin your maternity leave during this time, which is important for those concerned about wanting to maximize their time on maternity leave with their little one, and return to the program when their babe is closer to a year old. We found this helpful to know as it can be difficult to predict when exactly you will need to take leave from your respective program.
EMPLOYMENT INSURANCE (EI)
To be eligible for EI, you are required to have worked 600 hours in the last 52 weeks or since your last claim. Birth mothers can start collecting EI maternity benefits up to 8 weeks before their expected due date, but must apply for EI no later than the week of the birth. Maternity benefits cannot be collected past 17 weeks following the actual or expected birth, whichever is later.
Please note: the date you file your claim is very important to receive the maximum maternity benefits to which you are entitled. If the actual date of birth is different from the expected date, you must inform EI as soon as possible after your child’s birth. Contact Service Canada at 1-800-206-7218, or you can go in person to your local Service Canada Centre.
It is important to note that maternity EI and parental EI benefits are two separate entities as detailed below:
Maternity EI: only for the person who was pregnant or recently gave birth, and cannot be shared between parents
Parental EI: available to both parents of the newborn or newly adopted child, and can be shared between parents
Please note that if your baby is hospitalized, the 17-week limit for collecting maternity benefits can be extended for every week your child is in hospital, up to a maximum of 52 or 78 weeks (depending on whether you have opted for standard vs. extended leave). You will still only receive EI maternity payments for a maximum of 15 weeks, but payments can be delayed until your child comes home. If you received maternity benefits prior to the birth of your child and wanted to receive the remaining benefits when your child comes home, you will need to contact Service Canada.
If you work while on maternity leave, your earnings will be deducted dollar for dollar from your benefits.
Your EI payment is a taxable income, meaning federal and provincial or territorial taxes will be deducted if applicable
VANCOUVER COASTAL HEALTH (VCH) "TOP-UP"
As part of the Supplement Employment Benefits (SEB) Plan, biological mothers will receive a top up to 90% of their salary from their employer (VCH) for the first 16 weeks. If you are not eligible for EI benefits (ex. have not worked the required 600 hours in the last 52 weeks), VCH will provide the full 90% of your salary for 16 weeks as part of the SEB plan.
How to apply:
A PGY-1 resident on maternity leave who has met the criteria for EI:
EXTENDED HEALTH BENEFITS: PACIFIC BLUE CROSS
Unfortunately, this is no longer covered at 100% while you are on leave. You can choose whether you would like to continue receiving extended health benefits, and if you do elect to continue with your benefits plan, VCH will cover the majority of the premium, and you will be responsible for the remainder. Please note that in 2020, this amount is: $26.35/month. The plan stays the same including any dependents previously listed, and once your baby is born you are able to add them to your benefits package at no additional cost.
To add/remove a dependent:
In making the decision whether extended health benefits are the right option for your family, we would encourage you to have a look at the PBC Benefits booklet available here:
For those of us who did keep our benefits, we found the coverage for things like compression stockings, carpal tunnel wrist splints, and RMT massages quite beneficial.
BIRTH CERTIFICATE/MEDICAL SERVICE PLAN (MSP)/CANADIAN CHILD CARE BENEFIT/SOCIAL INSURANCE NUMBER (SIN)
With the arrival of your new baby, you will receive a document with baby’s personal health number (PHN). You can then register your child’s birth online. Birth registration is essential to apply for important services like birth certificates, the Medical Services Plan, Canada Child Benefits, and a social insurance number.
You need the following information to register your child's birth online: