Advocacy Corner: Pregnancy & Parental Leave

October 1, 2018

Each month, our Advocacy Committee answers your questions. Here is committee chair Andrew Boden on questions around sick leave during pregnancy and parental leave and taxes!

I’m about to go on Parental / Maternity Leave. I’ve heard from other people that they have had to pay thousands of dollars in taxes after returning to work.  Is there anything I can do about this?
This is a very common issue that isn’t easy to navigate. The article below from the Vancouver Sun in 2009 illustrates it well.
For APSA members, because they do get a top-up upon returning to work, this will lead to problems with the tax deduction calculations made by Employment Insurance. This often results in an unhappy surprise come tax time.
We suggest planning for this in advance by saving some of your top up until you know how much you’ll owe in taxes.  It’s a good idea to speak with a tax accountant to get a clear idea of how much you’ll owe based on your family’s situation.
Will I lose my benefits or my vacation time while I’m on Parental/Maternity leave?
No -- vacation entitlement, pension and other service credits will not be affected by your leave.
Premiums for extended health and dental benefits will continue to be paid by SFU.  You will have to pay for your portion of the MSP premium.  You can make those arrangements with SFU Human Resources.
I’m currently pregnant and having some complications with my pregnancy. I need to go off work early before giving birth. Do I have to start my maternity leave early or can I use sick leave?
APSA members are entitled to use their sick leave for pregnancy related illnesses, though a member could choose to start their leave early if that’s what works best for them and their family.
I know sick leave is calculated on a per illness or injury basis. Would the same or similar pregnancy complication in a new, later pregnancy count as the same or a new illness?
No -- each different pregnancy and complications related to it are considered a new illness.
What if I need more advice about my pregnancy and parental/maternity leave?
Your first point of contact should be Human Resources.  If you need further clarification or would prefer to ask questions anonymously, please do contact the APSA office and we will do our best to help you.  Your questions and our advice are held in complete confidentiality.