And I got a smidge jealous, I’ll admit.
And my Canadian friend Jen is feeling very home sick now, since having a homebirth is a lot more difficult and pricy here than it was in her home up north.
For one thing, Canada’s health insurance covers home birth attended by midwives. Second, there are more qualified midwives in Canada – and ones that are respected as much as OB/GYNs – than there are around here in Kansas.
But what really struck me is Canada’s policy for benefits you can receive from the government after you have a baby. You and your husband.
That is a very condensed comparison. According to the Service Canada page, “To be entitled to maternity, parental or sickness benefits you must show that:
- your regular weekly earnings have been decreased by more than 40%; and
- you have accumulated 600 insured hours in the last 52 weeks or since your last claim. This period is called the qualifying period.”
That site goes on to explain that you can get up to $425 a week from the government during this time of leave from your place of employment. Then, your employer can choose to pay the rest of your salary during this time away or not.
And you know what our U.S. Department of Labor says? That eligible employees of covered employers can take unpaid leave and be guaranteed their job back with full benefits when they return from leave. So that doesn’t cover everyone and it is unpaid.
Tenille from the blog Feisty Frugal and Fabulous is a current resident of Canada and expecting her third child. With her first, she was the breadwinner of the family so she took the entire year that she qualified for. Then she was a Stay at home mom with her 2nd and her husband took a 3 month paid leave.
Now with their third he is taking 5 months paid leave, “since we think this is our last baby, that’s what prompted my husband to take 5 full months,” she said. “He will never have the opportunity to do it again, to be at home with all of us through the summer months, with a wee baby, at full pay.”
Her baby will be born in April and her husband will be going back to work at the end of August. Tenille said they will spend this time first adjusting to life with a new baby and travelling around during summer vacation. Since she doesn’t breastfeed he will be just as hands on as she is with feeding and all.
Heather from Home To Heather is currently on maternity leave with her 2nd child, and she took the entire year paid leave since she is currently employed as a Sales and Marketing Coordinator. She is breastfeeding and said that taking a full year off from work doesn’t make it harder to fit in at work, but what is hard is “the hardest in fact, was finding childcare and leaving my baby after being with her everyday for a year.”
I was speaking over this news with my friend Jen today over tea. She said they pay a lot more tax in Canada, but the benefits – to her – are totally worth it. That got me thinking, what would life be like if moms were given money to stay home with their kids after they had them? Shoot, after Lucy was born I only had somebody home for 3 days! And that was after a c-section! I believe it would be amazing to have him home with me for even the first 2 months.
Just curious – would you pay higher taxes if that meant you could collect benefits to have more time off work (or if you are a SAHM, have your husband home?)
Me? I think I would! It really is stressful for moms to find daycare for their newborns and being able to stay home would be such a blessing for them. And personally, I would pay a lot more in taxes if that meant I could have my husband home with me to help with things while we get used to another tiny baby.