What the Act says

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

Each parent of a newborn or a newly adopted child is entitled to a parental leave without pay of up to 52 weeks. A person who adopts the child of his spouse is also entitled to this leave.

The parental leave cannot begin before the week of the birth of the newborn or, in the case of an adoption, before the week when the child is entrusted to the employee. Nor can it begin before the week during which the employee leaves work to travel outside Québec to obtain custody of the child.

The parental leave is in addition:

The parental leave may end no later than 70 weeks after the birth or, in case of adoption, 70 weeks after the child was entrusted to the employee. This leave cannot be divided unless agreed with the employer or in the cases specified by law.

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 to go on leave after the birth or adoption of a child. 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.

Following agreement with the employer, the leave may be:

  • suspended, if the employee can return to work temporarily while his child is hospitalized
  • 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.

Notice given to the employer

The parental leave must be preceded by a notice of at least 3 weeks indicating to the employer the dates when the leave begins and ends. This notice period may be shorter if the employee’s presence is required sooner with the newborn or the newly adopted child or with the mother, due to their state of health.

Return to work

The employee may resume his work on a part-time or intermittent basis during his parental leave if his employer gives his consent.

At the end of the parental 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.

The employee may return to work before the date mentioned in the notice that he gave his employer before leaving. He must then send the employer, 3 weeks ahead of time, a new notice indicating the date of his return.

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


Unlike the maternity leave and the paternity leave, the parental leave has an impact on the calculation of the vacation.


Geneviève’s and Benoît’s choice

Geneviève gave birth on February 13, 2008, namely two weeks after the start of her maternity leave. Her spouse Benoît, who has worked for his employer for more than 60 days, is entitled to a leave of 5 days, 2 of which are with pay, for the birth of his child. He decides to take advantage of only these 2 days of leave with pay and to take his 5-week paternity leave immediately afterwards. He can receive the allowance stipulated under the Québec Parental Insurance Plan.
For her part, Geneviève chose to take an 18-week maternity leave. She too can receive the allowance stipulated under the Québec Parental Insurance Plan.

At the end of their paternity and maternity leaves, Benoît and Geneviève are both entitled to a parental leave without pay of 52 weeks.

Frequently asked question

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

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