Maternity Leave and Parental Leave

Under the Saskatchewan Employment Act (SEA), employees have the right to certain job-protected leaves of absence. The SEA ensures employees can take time off and return to their job without concern. This includes long-term leaves of absence such as maternity leave and parental leave.

Managing leave is key to every employer’s success. If you don’t meet your duties you leave yourself open to claims, lost productivity, and more. If you need any help managing leave, get in touch with Employer Line’s experts for free advice.

Employer obligations for maternity leave and parental leave

Employers are responsible for providing time off for maternity leave and/or parental leave as set out in the Saskatchewan Employment Act. Further, if a pregnancy interferes with a worker’s performance,  you can modify their job or reassign them. But the employee’s wages and benefits cannot be reduced.

If you are unable to accommodate the employee, they can be required to commence maternity leave up to 13 weeks before the estimated date of birth.

Maternity leave

Maternity leave is an unpaid, job-protected leave for pregnant employees to take time off for the birth of their child. Birth mothers have the right to take up to 19 consecutive weeks of leave and can start the leave as early as 13 weeks before the due date.

Birth mothers must take at least six (6) weeks of leave after the birth of their child for health reasons unless the employee provides a medical certificate to return early.

Parental leave

Parental leave is an unpaid, job-protected leave for birth and adoptive parents. The parent who takes maternity or adoption leave is eligible for up to 59 weeks of parental leave. Those who do not take maternity leave or adoption leave are eligible for up to 71 weeks. Employees who qualify for parental leave include:

  • Birth mothers (immediately following maternity leave)
  • The other parent
  • Adoptive parents
  • Both parents, shared between them

The start of parental leave can begin any time after the birth or adoption of a child. However, it must be completed within 78 weeks of the birth or placement date.

Notice Requirement

Your employee must provide written notice at least 6 weeks before taking maternity or parental leave. While a return date is not required in the notice, employees are expected to give at least 4 weeks’ notice in writing of their intended return to work date.

As an employer, you may request, in writing, that your employee start maternity leave earlier if the pregnancy is interfering with their job performance during the 13 weeks before the due date.

What are your employer obligations for maternity leave and parental leave? 

If you’re unsure about your obligations to provide maternity leave, parental leave, or other leaves of absence, call Employer Line. You can reach our HR experts for free employer advice at 1 (306) 952-5891.