Extended parental leave coming — but can families afford to take it?

Parents will be able to spread employment insurance benefits over 18-month period


An option for extended parental leave promised by the federal Liberals is about to kick in for some workers — but the longer leave doesn't come with any extra money, which has prompted some critics to say the new plan will be of limited use.

Employees in federally regulated sectors — such as the public service, banks and telecoms — will be the first workers able to access the extended leave, which allows parents to take 18 months off instead of 12.  If a worker chooses to take the full 18 months, the maximum amount they'll receive weekly will go down to $326 from $543. 

So how will the program work? And who is expected to benefit the most?

Watch as CBC's Jacqueline Hansen and financial planner Shannon Lee Simmons take a deeper look at the realities of parental leave and take questions from viewers about how to budget for baby.