New research shows Canada’s parental leave program leaves out two-fifths of mothers, many of them low-income, and points to a stark divide between families that are “parental-leave-rich” and “parental-leave-poor” — just as the Liberals prepare to enhance the program.
A study of federal parental leave figures published this week finds that about 41 per cent of mothers outside of Quebec don’t qualify for benefits because they don’t have enough insurable hours.
In Quebec, which has its own maternity and paternity leave program, less than 11 per cent didn’t qualify.
Those numbers don’t include mothers in Canada’s three territories or in First Nations communities, which means the number of mothers who don’t qualify could be even higher.
There was also an economic divide: More than 65 per cent of women earning over $30,000 qualified for the benefit in 2013, while that number was about 37 per cent for women earning under that amount.
The results of the study, published Thursday in the Journal of Industrial Relations, raises questions about the Liberal plan for a revamped parental leave program, and whether the party’s promise to extend leave to 18 months will just exacerbate the situation.
It all sounds good on paper.