Alberta moms champs when it comes to mat leave

  • Jan. 23, 2013 4:09 p.m.

Employment insurance claims are often associated with unpleasant events – usually the loss of a job or the onset of illness. However, most Canadian workers are eligible to collect employment insurance benefits for a decidedly happier reason: the arrival of a new child.

In November of last year, 8,210 new mothers in Alberta were collecting employment insurance (E.I.) benefits under maternity leave.

For Canada as a whole, the figure was 48,920. And while Albertans collect far fewer E.I. benefits overall than other Canadians, we’re the champs when it comes to maternity leave.

For every 10,000 people, there are about 21 new moms in Alberta collecting employment insurance, compared to only about 14 for the entire country. That reflects Alberta’s younger population, especially of women in their prime reproductive years. It’s also a reflection of Alberta’s higher labour force participation rate where a greater proportion of women are employed outside the home.

Over the past five years, there has been a very slight decrease in maternity E.I. benefits both in Alberta and in Canada, although the figure has been generally stable. The most notable feature of the data is the uptick in maternity benefits collected in the months of July, August and September, represented by the noticeable bumps in the line graph below. Could it be that babies prefer being born in the summer?

It’s more likely that parents are planning their maternity leave around the warmer season. It’s not hard to count nine months out!

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