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Alberta

Maternity Leave

How do I qualify?

You must have worked for your employer for at least 52 weeks. However, even if you haven't worked at least 52 weeks, your employer cannot lay you off, terminate employment or force resignation due to pregnancy under Human Rights Law. This applies to both full time and part time employees. 

How much leave can I take?

You can take up to 15 weeks.

When can I take my leave?

Pregnancy leave can begin any time within 12 weeks of the estimated due date.

During the 12 weeks before your due date, your employer can make you start your leave early if your pregnancy is interfering with your job performance.

Normally, you must take at least six weeks of leave after your child is born. But you can return to work earlier if your employer agrees and you have a medical certificate that says working won't risk your health.

What must I do to get leave?

You must give at least six weeks written notice of when you intend to start your leave. Your employer can require a medical certificate confirming your pregnancy and giving the estimated due date. 

If you don't give notice before you start your leave, you still have a right to pregnancy leave. But this applies only if you can provide a medical certificate that:

  • says you can't work because of a pregnancy-related medical condition
  • gives the estimated or actual delivery date

Can I be fired for getting pregnant?

No. It's illegal for your boss to suspend you, fire you or lay you off for being pregnant. But these things still happen. Find out what you can do if one of these things happens to you.

Parental Leave

How do I qualify?

You must be the birth mother or father or an adoptive parent of a child. You must have worked for your employer for at least 52 weeks. This applies to both full time and part time employees. 

How much parental leave can I take?

Birth parents and parents adopting a child under the age of 18 may take 37 consecutive weeks parental leave.  Leave may be taken by one parent or shared between both parents as long as it doesn't exceed 37 weeks total.  Parent leave must be taken within 52 weeks of the arrival of a child.  For birth mothers, parental leave begins at the end of maternity leave.

What must I do to get leave?

You must give at least six weeks written notice of when you intend to start your leave.  Parents will still be eligible for parental leave if medial circumstances or issues around adoption arise that prevent notice being given.  Birth mothers on maternity leave are not required to give parental leave notice.

Returning to Work

What about coming back to work?

If you're coming back to work, you need to give at least four weeks written notice before the end of your leave, saying you intend to return or that you're changing your return date. If you're late with this notice, your employer can make you wait four weeks from the time you hand it in before letting you come back to work.

If you don't provide notice or don't report to work the day after your leave ends, you could lose your job unless the delay was due to unforeseen circumstances.

You're also supposed to give four weeks written notice if you don't intend to come back to work.

What job will I come back to?

You'll go back to your previous job or a similar job with wages and benefits at least equal to those you were getting when you started your leave.

Can I continue to participate in benefit plans, such as disability, dental, pension or medical plans?

Your employer doesn't have to pay for benefits during maternity leave.

Can I get sick leave or short-term disability benefits while on leave?

Employers who provide these benefits must ensure that pregnant workers get them if they have a health-related absence during maternity leave or because of their pregnancy. As part of health-related leave (which is assessed by a doctor), pregnant employees have the right to these benefits before, during or after the delivery, provided they have the required sick leave credits. Pregnant employees who don't work full-time and are covered by these plans can also have access to them.

For more information, please see the Alberta Maternity and Parent Leave Factshet

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