What the Act says

The Act respecting labour standards contains provisions concerning paternity leaves that protect the majority of Québec workers, whether they are full or part time.

An employee is entitled to a leave without pay of five consecutive weeks at the birth of his child. The parental leave may be added to the paternity leave.

This paternity leave may begin no earlier than the week of the birth of the child and end no later than 52 weeks later. The employee must notify his employer in writing at least 3 weeks before the start of his leave by indicating the anticipated starting date of the leave and the date of his return to work. This notice period may, however, be shorter if the child arrives before the expected date of birth.

This leave cannot be interrupted without the authorisation of the employer or in specific cases mentioned in the Law. This leave cannot be transferred to the mother or shared with her.

Québec Parental Insurance Plan

Under the Québec Parental Insurance Plan, benefits are paid to support the income of an employee who is absent from work because he is a new father. To learn more, get in touch with a representative of the Centre de service à la clientèle of the Ministère de l’Emploi et de la Solidarité sociale at 1-888-610-7727.

It is also possible to apply for benefits on the Internet.

This leave may be:

  • suspended following agreement with the employer, if the employee’s child is hospitalized and a temporary return to work is possible
  • extended, if the health of the child requires it. The employee must then provide a medical opinion from the physician before the end of the initial leave.

In certain very specific cases, at the request of the employee, the leave may be divided into weeks if his child is hospitalized or if the employee is absent because he himself or one of his close relatives is sick, as stipulated in sections 79.1 and 79.8 of the Act respecting labour standards.

If the employee continues to make contributions to the various group insurance and pension plans during his leave, the employer must do likewise. If the employer does not, he is liable to legal proceedings as this constitutes a reprisal within the meaning of the Act.

Example of Hugo

Last week, Hugo’s spouse gave birth to boy, their first child. Hugo had agreed with his employer that he would begin his 5-week paternity leave when the child was born.

Unfortunately, Hugo’s son has to be readmitted to hospital. While the leave must be taken on a consecutive basis, Hugo asks his employer to return to work and to resume his paternity leave when his child returns home. Because Hugo’s child is hospitalized, the suspension of his paternity leave is permitted.

Return to work

At the end of the paternity leave, the employer must reinstate the employee in his former position and give him the wages and the benefits to which he would have been entitled had he remained at work.

If his position has been abolished, the employee retains the same rights and privileges that he would have enjoyed had he remained at work.

However, these provisions must not give the employee an advantage that he would not have enjoyed had he remained at work.

An employee who does not return to work on the stipulated date is considered to have quit his job.

Annual leaves

An absence for a paternity leave during the reference year does not reduce the length of an employee’s vacation. The employee is entitled to an indemnity that is equal, depending on his length of uninterrupted service, to 2 or 3 times the weekly average of the wages earned during the reference year. It should be noted that the employee does not accumulate vacation pay while on parental leave.

Is an employer obliged to grant a paternity leave to an employee who requests it?

Yes. An employer is required to grant an eligible employee who requests it the paternity leave stipulated in the Act, which can be up to 5 weeks.

Frequently asked questions

  1. Are senior managerial personnel and employees subject to the construction decree entitled to the paternity leave?
    Yes. They are entitled to it, even though the major portion of the other provisions of the Act do not apply to them.

  2. Is an employer obliged to grant a paternity leave to an employee who requests it?
    Yes. An employer is required to grant an eligible employee who requests it the paternity leave stipulated in the Act, which can be up to 5 weeks.

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