Sunday November 12, 2017
Should all employers match the federal government's new 18-month parental leave plan?
More from this episode:
- How many women does it take to send one woman back to work?
- When the person looking after your children can't afford to have her own
- He missed the first 9 months of his daughter's life, now this army dad wants more flexible parental leave
It can be gut-wrenching for many new parents — especially new moms. The thought of missing out on a baby's every gasp, sneeze and smile because it's time to go back to work.
This week, the Trudeau government made good on its pledge to extend parental leave from 12 months to 18 months. That doesn't mean more money. New parents who want to more time at home will have to stretch one year of EI benefits over a year and a half. But the government says extended leave gives workers in federally regulated workplaces more options for work-life balance after the birth of a child, and that's good for the economy and business.
Now, you'd think that parents would jump at more time at home with a newborn, but not everybody is pleased with the details.
Critics say it will only benefit women and families who can afford to cover expenses over the extended period, and it'll make it harder for mothers to re-enter their careers after being absent from work for 18 months.
Some daycare advocates point out that extending leave is not the first priority, and what parents really need is more good quality daycare. Does it let the government off the hook of any commitment to increase funding for accessible daycare? Or, will it give parents extra time at home to search for the right care for their children?
The extended leave can be shared by mothers and fathers. Many say that anything that encourages men to take a larger role in childcare is good for everybody, especially in workplaces where a culture of overwork prevails. Will it help close the gender gap and make workplaces more family-friendly?
Small businesses have already spoken out against the extension, saying it puts a strain on employers to find and train replacement workers for longer periods.
Should employers be more accepting of the positives of parenthood that can strengthen an employee's long-term relationship with a company?
The new federal rules for parental leave apply to less than 10 per cent of Canadian workers. What do you think? Should the provinces jump onboard and change their labour laws to extend parental leave to the other 90 per cent? Ontario has already announced it will follow the federal lead.
Our question: "Should all employers match the federal government's new 18-month parental leave plan?"
Jennifer Robson, assistant professor in the department of Political Management at Carleton University
Corinne Pohlmann, senior vice-president of National Affairs and Partnerships at the Canadian Federation of Independent Business
Marina Adshade, professor at the Vancouver School of Economics at UBC, and at the School of Public Policy at Simon Fraser University, and author of "Dollars & Sex: How Economics Influences Sex & Love"
Denise Donlon, Canadian media executive, author of "Fearless as Possible (Under the Circumstances): A Memoir"
- Expanded parental leave to come into effect Dec. 3
- Video: Parental Benefits
- Parental leave changes prompt questions of affordability
- Extended parental leave coming — but can families afford to take it?
- New parental leave rules may mean dedicated time off for dad
- Every $1 spent on early childhood education pays back $6 later, report finds
- New rules on parental leave miss the mark, Women's Network says
- Liberal's 18-month parental leave a disservice to women, says critic (Mar. 27, 2017)
- Employers, labour groups push Liberals to rethink parental leave changes (Nov. 7, 2016)
The Toronto Star
The Globe and Mail
- Expanded parental leave, new caregiver benefit to come into effect Dec. 3
- Extending maternity leave won't help women returning to work (Jul. 7, 2017)
- What employers need to know about 18-month parental leave (Apr. 6, 2017)
- Employers, labour groups urge rethink of Liberals' parental leave proposal (Nov. 7, 2016)
- Parental warning: More parental leave will only hurt women in gaining equality (Dec 1, 2015)
- All work and no promotion: Women's careers suffer because it's family before boozy work dos (Nov. 26, 2015)
Macleans: Ottawa has boosted benefits, but too many are still not getting them
Policy Options: Parental Benefits in Canada: Which Way Forward? by Jennifer Robson
Ranstad: Do Canadian employers know what turns job seekers on?