The federal Conservative Party is promising to make employment insurance maternity and parental benefits tax-free.

The party is proposing a 15 per cent tax credit for any income earned under the two EI programs.

“Parents should be able to put their energy toward those critical first few months, and not have to worry so much about their bank accounts or their bottom line,” said Conservative leader Andrew Scheer at a Toronto childcare centre on Tuesday.

Read: Employers urged to prepare for incoming EI parental sharing benefit

Scheer said women earning $50,000 per year would save around $4,000 under the party’s proposal. As well, the Conservatives said its government would also provide an equivalent amount tax credit for Quebec residents who receive their maternity and parental benefits under the Quebec Parental Insurance Plan.

New mothers currently receive 55 per cent of their earnings, up to $562 per week for a maximum of 15 weeks. Canadians who take the standard parental benefits receive 55 per cent of their salary up to $562 for up to 40 weeks. If they choose to take the extended leave, which was introduced in 2018, they receive a 33 per cent income replacement for up to $337 per week, for a maximum of 69 weeks.

The Conservatives said all Canadian families would be eligible for the new benefit; however, not every new mother qualifies for EI maternity benefits. For eligibility, women have to accumulate 600 insured hours of work in the 52 weeks prior to their claim and self-employed women have to earn a minimum amount to qualify.

Read: A look at extended parental benefits one year on

Copyright © 2019 Transcontinental Media G.P. Originally published on benefitscanada.com

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