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I'm pregnant. What are my rights as a worker?

I'm pregnant. What are my rights as a worker?
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Reviewed: 
September 24, 2019
Answer

If you're going to have a baby, Ontario law says that you can take time off work without losing your job. This is called taking a leave.

For information about parental leave, which is for new birth parents and adopting parents, see I'm going to be a parent. What are my rights as a worker?

Pregnancy leave is for women who are pregnant or who have just given birth. Some people call this maternity leave.

If you started working for your employer at least 13 weeks before your due date, your employer must let you take pregnancy leave.

Length of pregnancy leave

Usually, you have the right to take up to 17 weeks of pregnancy leave.

But if your pregnancy ends in a miscarriage or stillbirth, your leave continues at least 12 weeks after the miscarriage or stillbirth. This could make your leave longer than 17 weeks.

Parental leave for a birth mother can be up to 61 weeks.

So if you get both, you can get up to 78 weeks of leave.

Getting paid during pregnancy leave

Ontario's Employment Standards Act does not say that your employer has to pay you during pregnancy leave. But if you've worked enough hours to qualify for Employment Insurance (EI), you may be able to get EI benefits for some of the time you're on leave.

When pregnancy leave begins

Usually, the earliest you can start your pregnancy leave is 17 weeks before your baby is due. But if your baby is born earlier than that, you must start your leave on the date of the birth.

And you must start your pregnancy leave no later than your due date. If your baby is born before your due date, you must start your leave on the date of the birth.

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