Parenting

How Canada's 'Generous' Parental Leave Policy Is Benefitting Real Families

12/03/2014 02:59pm ET | Updated December 5, 2014

While the United States is one of the few countries without a guaranteed parental leave policy, parents residing on the other side of its northernmost border reap the benefits of a very different approach to post-pregnancy life.

In Canada, mothers who have completed at least six months of work with a company are eligible for a 17-week maternity leave after her pregnancy. Following the maternity leave period, both parents can share the remaining 37 weeks of parental leave, with job security.

In a conversation with HuffPost Live on Tuesday, Spencer Callaghan, a Canadian father and blogger explained how this “generous” policy benefitted his family.

“My wife got, basically, a year off, paid.” he told host Nancy Redd. “She gets the equivalent of something like 90 percent of her salary, but it’s on a sliding scale depending on how close it is to the birth of the child.”

(According to Service Canada, the basic rate for calculating employment insurance benefits during one's parental leave is 55 percent of your average insurable weekly earnings, with a cap of $514 per week.)

Callaghan stressed the importance of Canada’s government-mandated parental leave policy because it pushes companies that may not otherwise rise to the occasion to institute maternity leave and benefits.

“I think there is definitely a responsibility of government to have a certain standard because then the companies have to at least meet that,” he said. “If you’re only relying on the companies out of the goodness of their heart to do it ... to be honest, a lot of them won’t. They’ll only meet the minimum standard, which is why the standard needs to be high, and in Canada, it’s pretty generous.”

This article has been updated with additional information about the average payments for parental leave in Canada.

Watch the full HuffPost Live conversation about parenting in Canada here.

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Maternity Leave Around The World (2012)