What changes have been made to parental leave?

Under the previous Collective Agreement, lawyers are entitled to a single period of parental leave of up to 37 consecutive weeks during the 52-week period beginning on the date of birth or the date on which a child comes into a lawyer's care. There is no automatic right to extended parental leave under the previous Collective Agreement.

What changes have been made to the parental allowance?

Several changes have been made to the parental allowance provisions in the new Collective Agreement following amendments to the Employment Insurance Act which allow for extended EI parental benefits. These changes were intended to provide greater flexibility and certainty to lawyers without significantly increasing the overall cost of parental allowance top-ups for the employer.

How will these changes apply to Québec residents?

Québec residents will be eligible for the non-discretionary extended parental leave.   Under the Québec Parental Insurance Program (QPIP) and the new Collective Agreement however, parental allowance would only be payable under the standard parental benefits option. The reason for this is that to be eligible for a parental allowance, lawyers must provide proof that they have applied for and are in receipt of QPIP parental, paternity or adoption benefits. Parental benefits are only available for 32 weeks with the QPIP Basic Plan, and 25 weeks with the QPIP Special plan.

How will these changes apply to lawyers who are currently on maternity or parental leave or who will be on leave when the tentative Collective Agreement comes into force?

Changes to parental leave will come into effect on the date the Collective Agreement is signed  (September 5th, 2019). Changes to existing and new compensation elements, including allowances, will come into effect within 180 days following the signature of the new Collective Agreement. This date has been set as November 18th, 2019.