In its 2017 budget last week, the federal government extended parental leave from 12 to 18 months. It’s a change that the Liberal government first teased in 2015 and has already ignited a great deal of discussion.

Under the change, parents won’t be receiving additional earnings from employment insurance but can opt to receive benefits at a lower rate of 33 per cent over the course of 18 months or choose the existing rate of 55 per cent over 12 months.

Read: Budget boosts parental leave to 18 months, introduces caregiving benefit

So the total benefits available through employment insurance won’t change, but employers that top up parental benefits will have to review their programs and determine how they’re going to allocate their top-up payments over 18 months, said Nora Spinks, chief executive officer of the Vanier Institute of the Family.

Middle-income earners will likely benefit the most from an 18-month parental leave, noted Alisa Fulshtinsky, creator and chief administrator of community group Toronto Mommies, during a previous interview with Benefits Canada. According to Fulshtinsky, women with demanding careers will likely benefit from the additional months because it provides them with more time to find childcare.

Read: Will 18-month parental leave reduce pressures on working families?

Considering the various scenarios and issues, do you agree with the federal government’s move to extend parental leave to 18 months? Will it provide parents the flexibility they need or will the change merely make the system more complicated for everyone? Don’t forget to have your say here.

Last week’s poll asked how long job candidates should wait before they ask a prospective employer about benefits and compensation. The debate stemmed from the backlash a Winnipeg company received after it denied a second interview to a candidate who inquired about benefits. The poll asked whether the company had any justification for what it did.

Read: When is it appropriate for job applicants to ask about benefits?

Two-thirds (66 per cent) of respondents said the question was entirely appropriate and companies need to be more transparent about compensation, while eight per cent said the candidate should have waited until the interview and done her own research in advance. Another 26 per cent of respondents said there’s no clear answer and that while the company went too far in its actions, it’s reasonable to expect a candidate to wait for the issue to come up more naturally.

Copyright © 2018 Transcontinental Media G.P. Originally published on benefitscanada.com

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