Welcome to Carnets Vanille! I’m Sarah, a lover of Saint-Malo who ended up in Montreal. I write about these two regions that are close to my heart: travel itineraries, ebooks, tips, and more!

Follow me on

Plan your trip with my ebook “Discover Saint-Malo” !

180+ pages in PDF or EPUB about Saint-Malo and the Emerald Coast. Works on your tablet as well!
Buy for 9,90€
Maternity leave in Quebec: how does it work?

Maternity leave in Quebec: how does it work?

Canada Expat life Québec

This is an article I’ve wanted to write for a long time, since I’ve been on maternity leave, to be honest! Maternity leave in Quebec is really interesting. It’s quite well-paid and lasts a long time. But it’s not necessarily straightforward to understand at first glance.

In this article, I try to simplify the situation. Here you’ll find:

maternity leave in quebec

Enrolling in QPIP when expecting a child

The organization responsible for managing payment during maternity leave in Quebec is called the QPIP, the Quebec Parental Insurance Plan. It’s where you create your file and where all benefits are issued.

Here, I present the two most common situations in Quebec, especially the one I’m familiar with. So, we’re talking about maternity leave in the case of a couple expecting a single child.

Conditions for qualifying for maternity leave

First, to qualify for RQAP benefits, certain conditions must be met:

How long does maternity leave last in Quebec?

This is probably the first question on your mind. At least, it’s the one I’ve heard the most. At most, maternity leave can last for 1 year. It varies depending on the chosen plan and the parents’ choices.

First, you need to understand the difference between three terms:

In Quebec, mothers tend to work right up until 7 to 10 days before giving birth.

Personally, I wanted some time for myself before the baby arrived, so I stopped working 6 weeks before my expected due date… And by luck, because this eager little one arrived a month early!

How much are you paid during maternity leave in Quebec?

The payment varies depending on the type of maternity leave chosen. It can range from 75% to 55% of income, depending on the selected plan and the duration of parental benefits.

First option: the basic plan

The basic plan lasts longer but has lower compensation. This is the one my partner and I chose.

For mothers, it starts with 18 weeks of maternity leave paid at 70%. For fathers, there are 5 weeks of paternity leave paid at 70%.

Know that sometimes companies compensate for the loss of salary during maternity leave. For example, in my case, my company compensated the 70% so that I received 100% of my salary for the first 18 weeks. My partner had the same arrangement during his paternity leave.

Then, we move on to parental leave. There are a total of 32 weeks, which can be shared between the mother and father. The first 7 weeks are paid at 70%, and the following 25 weeks are paid at 55%.

To encourage fathers to take leave, the government offers an additional 4 weeks paid at 55% if the father takes at least 8 weeks of parental leave.

Personally, I took the full parental leave. Since my partner had unlimited vacation days at his company, it was more advantageous for us in case he wanted to take time off. In the end, he only took an additional 5 weeks!

So, you end up with a total of 50 paid weeks, which is roughly 1 year.

In my case, I extended it with an unpaid leave of 15 weeks. My company allowed it, and it allowed me to fully dedicate myself to the blog for 3 months while the baby was in daycare.

Second option: the special plan

The special plan is shorter but better paid.

For mothers, it starts with 15 weeks of maternity leave paid at 75% of income. For fathers, there are 3 weeks of paternity leave paid at 75%.

Then, we move on to parental leave. There are a total of 25 weeks, which can also be shared between the mother and father. They are paid at 75% of income.

Here, too, the government wants to encourage fathers to take leave. 3 weeks at 75% are offered if each parent takes 6 weeks of parental leave.

In this plan, the leave lasts 40 weeks in total, or roughly 9 months.

montreal view

Organizing maternity leave

As you’ve seen, parents start with weeks of maternity or paternity leave and then continue with parental leave.

While the first weeks must be taken within 18 weeks following the birth, this is not the case for parental leave.

Indeed, parental benefits can be taken within 18 months after the birth! So, there are almost limitless possibilities!

Both parents can take parental leave at the same time or one after the other. They can return to work and then take 8 weeks of parental leave 3 months later… It’s very flexible and adapts well to individual expectations or needs. The only requirement is to have the employer’s approval.

Note: Your employer must be informed of the leave start date at least 3 weeks in advance.

Special cases of maternity leave in Quebec

I mentioned the most common situation here, but the government accommodates many situations. Including:

Also, federal employees have a completely different maternity leave.

Maternity leave in case of miscarriage or abortion

I don’t wish this kind of situation on anyone, but you should know that the government has provisions if it were to happen.

If the pregnancy ends before 20 weeks, the mother can get 3 weeks of leave, but it won’t be paid. There are no provisions for fathers in this case.

If the pregnancy loss occurs after 20 weeks, the mother can get 18 weeks of maternity leave in Quebec, with compensation through the RQAP. In this case, only the mother can benefit, but the father can still get 5 days of leave.

Returning to work

I returned to the job I left after 15 months. My salary and benefits were the same as when I left.

If I had wanted to, I could have asked to return to work earlier with a simple written request. But let me tell you, that idea never crossed my mind!

baby malo

So, I hope this summary of maternity leave in Quebec has helped you understand how it works here! Feel free to leave a comment if you have any questions 🙂

Did you enjoy this article?

Share it with your friends!
Sarah - Carnets Vanille

Hello! I’m Sarah, a Malouin at heart, living in Montreal for a few years. Carnets Vanille is an opportunity for me to combine my two passions, writing and travel, by sharing with you about the two corners of the world that excite me, Quebec and Brittany. I share my discoveries, provide tips to help you plan your visits, and also offer recommendations on the best restaurants and accommodations.

Add your own comment :)

I'll reply as soon as possible!


Leave me a comment, i'll reply as soon as possible!

Download a free extract from my ebook on Saint-Malo and the surrounding area

You will also receive my newsletter on Saint-Malo and Brittany

Plan your trip with my ebook “Discover Saint-Malo” !

180+ pages in PDF or EPUB about Saint-Malo and the Emerald Coast. Works on your tablet as well!
Buy for 9,90€