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Normandin Beaudry

Bill 140, an Act respecting parental insurance

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There, in black and white

NB Bulletin Vol. 4 N. 9, July 2001

On May 25¸ 2001 the National Assembly adopted Bill 140¸ an Act respecting parental insurance. The Bill¸ which was given assent on May 30¸ 2001¸ outlines the structure of a future parental insurance plan within the province of Quebec.

Coverage for parental insurance benefits are currently provided by the Federal Government under the Employment Insurance Act. As a result¸ for such a provincial plan to be implemented the Federal Government must first recognise the existence of the Bill¸ upon which the retraction of parental insurance benefits from the Employment Insurance plan as well as a reduction of the required contribution rate to Employment Insurance would be in order.

Objective

The objective of the proposed plan is to grant maternity¸ paternity¸ parental and adoption benefits for eligible workers in Quebec which would be more generous than what is currently provided by the federal plan.

In addition¸ to improve the existing benefits¸ the provincial plan would also provide paternity leave up to a maximum of 5 weeks. The Bill¸ in this case¸ is not explicit with respect to the application of these paternity benefits¸ to whether or not they are payable in excess of the maternity and parental benefits.

Eligibility

Eligible workers must be residents of Quebec¸ contribute to the plan¸ have had an interruption of earnings as defined by the plan and annual insurable earnings derived from a business during the qualifying period greater than $2¸000 (rather than 600 worked hours as required by the current plan). Coverage is also provided to self-employed workers who are currently not eligible under the federal plan.

Benefits

The amount of weekly benefits are equal to a percentage of insurable earnings. Moreover¸ insurable earnings are subject to the maximum in effect at the "Commission de la santé et de la sécurité du travail" (CSST)¸ that of $51¸500 for 2001¸ a significant increase relative to the maximum of $39¸000 for 2001 set by the federal plan.

New parents would have the choice between two benefit-packages:

  • Option A: 70% of average weekly earnings for the first 25 weeks and 55% for the following 25 weeks.
  • Option B: 75% of average weekly earnings for 40 weeks (15 weeks of maternity leave and 25 weeks of parental leave).

These options would replace the current benefits of 55% of average weekly earnings for 50 weeks currently provided by the federal plan.

Premiums

Implementation of such a plan requires the collection by the provincial government of the parental benefits portion of Employment Insurance premiums that Quebec workers currently pay to the federal plan. Therefore¸ the proposed provincial plan will not come into force until such time the Federal Government expresses their intention to negotiate an agreement regarding the reduction of the current rates paid by Quebec workers to Employment Insurance. Moreover¸ it is possible that the required rates for the provincial plan will not be equivalent to those currently required by the Federal Government for the parental insurance portion of their plan.

The Bill provides that employees¸ by deduction at source¸ employers and self-employed workers are to contribute to the proposed plan according to the rates prescribed by the Government of Quebec.

Administration

The Conseil de gestion de l´assurance parentale¸ a body established by the Bill¸ shall entrust the administration of the parental insurance plan to the Régie des rentes du Québec.

Normandin Beaudry will remain up to date concerning the provincial government initiative for a new parental insurance plan and will keep you informed of any major developments in this regard.

 

Please feel free to contact us for additional information.

514.285.1122
 
630, René-Lévesque Blvd. West, 30th floor
Montreal, Quebec, H3B 1S6