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Financial Sense/ Money Matters

Financial Sense: Employer Benefits On Maternity Leave

This is a guest post by a fellow working mom who wanted to share her story but wished to remain anonymous (for obvious reasons). All I can say is that I am glad it didn’t happen to me!

stork-partyIn Ontario, while a mother (or father) is on maternity/parental leave she is still eligible to use her company’s benefit plan. This includes dental, eye care, drug plans etc.

However, while she is on leave she is still required to pay the benefit premiums, even though she isn’t being paid By her employer. And to the best of my Googling abilities, I couldn’t find much information about this, other than “your employer should discuss your benefits with you before your leave begins”.

So I learned about this the hard way.BabyFinances

The first time I was on mat leave I didn’t have to pay anything. I only had a drug plan, and my employer paid the premiums. But, sometime between then (it was three years ago) and now, they signed me up for long term disability insurance. I was apparently paying $110 a month for it.

Is it my fault I didn’t notice. Partially. I have never paid close attention to all the deductions that come off my pay. Since I lose over 40% of it, it makes me shudder just to think about thinking about it! LOL

However, since I was only given a benefit card with nothing but a number on it and no paperwork or book explaining my benefits and how they work, I also blame my employer.

You see, they neglected to say anything to me before I went on leave and now, eight months later, they wrote to inform me that I owe them over $1000! And when your yearly income is reduced to less than 40% of what you normally earn, that is a huge chunk of money.

I called the Employment Standards of Canada Hotline to see if I was on the hook or not, and they said I was. They said I should have asked my employer before I went on leave, it wasn’t their responsibility to tell me. Very helpful…not!

coins-and-a-baby-dummyI went on leave in December and with Christmas coming, new baby soon to arrive and struggling to work and care for a toddler, I had so many things to think about. Plus, since I didn’t have to pay anything the first time, why would I think that just two years later I would?

So ladies and gents, be aware. If you are taking maternity or parental leave be sure to discuss your benefit premiums with your employer before you go. Otherwise you could end up owing a bunch of money you didn’t budget for.

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About Shannon

I am a university educated full-time working mother of three children. Proudly Canadian, I freeze my butt off along with my loving partner, two dogs and a cat. I hope you enjoy reading my posts as much as I love writing them, but if you have nothing nice to say, don't say anything at all.

Discussion

7 thoughts on “Financial Sense: Employer Benefits On Maternity Leave

  1. Wow scary stuff, I luckily asked My employer just to be safe everything! Lucky for me I’m covered for everything still free of charge. :)

    Posted by journey2dfuture | February 8, 2014, 1:07 pm

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  1. Pingback: How To Win On Your Income Tax For Ontario Parents | A Game of Diapers - March 14, 2014

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