Pregnancy and Parental Leave Benefit Program Guidelines

The Pregnancy and Parental Leave Benefit Program (PPLBP) was established under the 2004 Physician Services Framework Agreement. It provides eligible physicians with a pregnancy leave benefit for 9 weeks and a parental leave benefit for 8 weeks of up to a maximum of $1000 per week.

Under the 2007 Reassessment, the PPLBP eligibility requirements were expanded to allow physicians who receive similar benefits from an employer or through Employment Insurance (EI) to be eligible for a top up or supplemental payment under the PPLBP that is the difference between the amount they receive from their employer and/or EI and the amount payable under the PPLBP.


Purpose

The purpose of the pregnancy leave component of the PPLBP is to provide female physicians with the opportunity to take time away from work to recover from the physical and psychological aspects of pregnancy and childbirth and to establish breastfeeding.

The purpose of the parental leave component of the PPLBP is to provide an opportunity for Ontario physicians to spend time with their child after birth or adoption by reducing the financial hardship of being away from their practice.

Eligibility Criteria (revised May 22, 2013)

To be eligible, a physician must meet each of the following criteria:

  1. Reside in Ontario.
  2. Must be one of the following:
    1. Be licensed to practice medicine in Ontario, by the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario (CPSO), during the full  26 weeks immediately before the start date of the Pregnancy or Parental Leave,
      OR
    2. Completed Residency in Ontario during the 26 weeks immediately before the start date of the Pregnancy or Parental Leave,
  3. Have not entered into an agreement that provides any Pregnancy and Parental Leave Benefits with the Ministry of Health and Long Term Care (MOHLTC), and
  4. Earning less than $2,000 per week in gross eligible income during the leave.

Benefit Policy

Pregnancy & Parental Leave

Pregnancy and Parental Leave Timelines

Type of Leave Length of Benefits Weeks Must Be Consecutive? Earliest Benefits Can Start Latest Benefits Can Start Application Deadline
Pregnancy Leave
(birth mothers only)
Up to 9 weeks Yes* 5 weeks before the expected date of delivery** 8 weeks after the child's birth date or hospital discharged date 8 weeks after the child 's birth date or hospital discharge date
Parental Leave
(biological parents) ***
Up to 8 weeks No, can be taken in non-consecutive weeks from Sunday to Saturday The date the child is born Leave must be completed within 36 weeks after the child's birth date or hospital discharge date 28 weeks after the child's birth date or hospital discharge date
Parental Leave
(adoptive parents)
Up to 8 weeks No, can be taken in non-consecutive weeks from Sunday to Saturday The date the adopted child was placed in the care, custody and control of the parent for the first time (placement date) Must be completed within 36 weeks after the adoption placement date. 28 weeks after the adoption placement date

[*] Exception may be granted if the physician is unable to obtain locum coverage. If an exception is granted, only one break may be taken and this break cannot exceed 3 weeks.

[**] Pregnancy leave can begin earlier if the attending physician / midwife advises the birth mother to stop working due to health concerns. A letter from the attending physician/midwife must be included in the application submission.

[***] Birth mothers can take both pregnancy and parental leave benefits for total of 17 weeks.

You do not have to take parental leave immediately following pregnancy leave. You may return to work between your pregnancy and parental leave as long as you complete your parental leave within 36 weeks after your child's birth or hospital discharge.

Adoptive and non-birth parents (fathers, non-birth mothers) are only eligible for parental leave.

Applications that are incomplete or missing supporting documentation will be closed within one year after the child's date of birth or one year after the adopted child was placed in the care, custody and control of the parent for the first time.

Stillbirth/Surrogacy

In the event of a miscarriage or stillbirth the birth mother may be eligible for pregnancy leave for up to 9 weeks of benefits provided that she meets the program eligibility criteria and carried the child to at least 23 weeks gestation prior to the loss. The deadline for the PPLBP application package is 8 weeks after the actual date of confinement.

Pregnancy leave is for birth mothers only. Physicians who are expecting a child via surrogate will not be eligible for pregnancy leave benefits under the PPLBP. If both parents are female and meet the eligibility criteria, only the parent who is pregnant will be eligible for pregnancy leave benefits and both parents will be eligible for parental leave.

Eligible physicians who are expecting a child via surrogate can apply for parental leave benefits to begin after the child is born.

Benefit Amount

Subject to all other provisions of the PPLBP, an eligible physician is entitled to pregnancy and/or parental benefits of 50% of his/her average weekly gross eligible earnings in Ontario in the 12-month period immediately preceding the start date of the pregnancy leave, or in the case of a physician taking parental leave only, the start date of the parental leave, to a maximum of $1,000 per week.

If an eligible physician has not been licensed to practise medicine in Ontario for the full 12 months prior to the start date of the leave, the PPLBP will pay 50% of the physician's average weekly gross eligible earnings over the period of time she/he was licensed to practise in Ontario immediately preceding the start date of the pregnancy leave or, in the case of a physician taking parental leave only, the start date of the parental leave, to a maximum of $1,000 per week.

Eligible Earnings are the sum of:

  • fee for service billings (excluding technical fees);
  • remuneration from an Alternate Funding Arrangement (AFA)
    • for specialists, this means all payments of any kind received under any Alternate Payment Plan (APP) or Alternate Funding Plan (AFP) or under the Academic Health Science Centre (AHSCAFP
    • for primary care physicians, this includes all payments received through primary-care agreements, including billings, base capitation payments, bonuses, premiums, and other incentives;
  • salary from an employer for the provision of insured clinical services
  • income earned as a resident; and
  • all other medical professional income remunerated through OHIP or through an employer for insured clinical services, including locum payments, sessional payments, stipends or supplements received from a hospital, community agency/organization, LHIN, long-term care facility, ministry, government agency or, in the case of specialists, received under a Primary Health Care Agreement.

Income Earned While Receiving Pregnancy or Parental Leave Benefits

An eligible physician who is receiving benefits from the PPLBP may earn gross Eligible Earnings up to $1,000 a week. Any amount above $1,000 a week will be deducted from the benefit entitlement. Physicians in a capitation based models can deduct any payments they made directly to a locum from their capitation payments.  A signed letter from the locum(s) must be submitted with the application that confirms coverage dates and the weekly locum payments.

Top-Up to Other Maternity, Pregnancy or Parental Leave Benefits

An eligible physician who qualifies to receive maternity/pregnancy and/or parental leave benefits from her or his employer or through EI at any time is entitled to a top up or supplemental payment from the PPLBP that is the difference between the amount(s) received from the employer and/or EI and the amount payable under the PPLBP.  This top-up is the difference between the maximum PPLBP benefit entitlement and the gross weekly amount of the EI/employer benefits, regardless of payment dates

Payment

Payments will be made by cheque by the 15th of the month for the previous month's benefits. The Ministry may withhold the final week's payment until the final income verification is conducted. Any reconciliation will be made prior to issuing the final payment.

Benefits are considered taxable income. No deductions will be taken from benefit payments for income tax, Canada Pension Plan or Employment Insurance. In February, the Ministry will provide you will a summary letter of the PPLBP benefits you received in the previous calendar year.

Application Submission

Submit your application with ALL required documentation by:

Email
pplbp@ontario.ca

Mail
Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care
Pregnancy and Parental Leave Benefit Program
1075 Bay Street, Suite 301
Toronto ON M7A 0A5

PPLBP will confirm receipt of the application via email once it is received.

Late applications will not be accepted. Incomplete and/or unsigned supporting documents will not be processed. Late receipt of supporting documents will delay your payments.

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Frequently Asked Questions

The following questions and answers summarize the essential features of the PPLBP but do not provide full details or cover every circumstance. Please refer to the Guidelines for additional information.

If you have any questions, please contact the PPLBP Administrator directly at (416) 212-6212 or e-mail pplbp@ontario.ca.

Eligibility

I am working in a fellowship in Ontario. Am I eligible for PPLBP benefits?

You are eligible if you meet the eligibility criteria listed in the Program Guidelines, your fellowship is in Ontario and you are providing clinical services in this fellowship.

I am incorporated and pay myself a salary. Does this affect my eligibility to receive PPLBP benefits? 

Your incorporation status will not affect your eligibility for the PPLBP. When filling out your application package, you must declare the gross eligible earnings your corporation received under your name in the 12-month period immediately before your leave start date. During your leave, you must declare income earnings paid to your corporation under your name and not the salary you are withdrawing. Income earnings must be declared based on the service date, not the payment received date.

I experienced a pregnancy loss. Am I eligible for PPLBP benefits?

Birth mothers who experience a stillbirth and carried the child to at least 23 weeks gestation prior to the loss can apply for pregnancy leave benefits as long as she meets the eligibility criteria. Either a letter from the attending physician/midwife confirming the loss or a copy of the certified stillbirth certificate must be included in the application submission.

I am expecting a child through a surrogate. Am I eligible for PPLBP benefits?

Physicians who meet the eligibility criteria and who are expecting a child through a surrogate can apply for parental leave benefits to start when the child is born.

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Taking Your Leave

What is the difference between pregnancy and parental leave?

Pregnancy leave is for birth mothers only and provides benefits for a maximum of 9 weeks. Parental leave is for biological fathers and adoptive parents and provides benefits for a maximum of 8 weeks. Birth mothers can apply for both pregnancy and parental leave for a total of 17 weeks.

My physician/midwife has advised me to stop working early for health reasons. How does this affect my pregnancy leave?

If your physician/midwife advised you to stop working early in your pregnancy due to concerns for you or your child's health, you may apply to start your pregnancy leave early. When submitting your application, you will need to include a letter from your attending physician/midwife that confirms these health concerns and the date you were advised to stop working on.

Do I have to take my pregnancy leave in consecutive weeks?

Yes, you must take your full 9 weeks of pregnancy leave at one time unless you are unable to get locum coverage for your leave. If you are unable to obtain locum coverage, on request, the PPLBP office may waive the requirement for a continuous pregnancy benefit period. You may return to work once during your pregnancy leave and this break cannot exceed three weeks in length.

Do my pregnancy leave benefits end once my child is born?

No, pregnancy leave does not automatically end once the child is born. You may continue receiving your pregnancy leave benefits and then start your parental leave once this is complete. Birth mothers can apply to start their pregnancy leave, at the latest, 8 weeks after the child was born or after the child was discharged from the hospital.

Can I start my parental leave benefits before my child was born or before the adoption placement date?

No, parental leave must be taken any time after the birth of your child or after your adopted child first comes into your care. The earliest that parental leave can start is the birth date or, in the case of an adoption, the adoption placement date. This is because the purpose of parental leave is to allow eligible physicians to spend time with the child after birth or adoption.

Do I have to take my parental leave in consecutive weeks?

No, your 8 weeks of parental leave do not have to be taken in consecutive weeks. If you choose to take parental leave in non-consecutive weeks, the leave must be taken in seven day increments from Sunday to Saturday after the birth date. All parental leave must be completed within 36 weeks after your child is born or discharged from hospital or your adopted child first comes into your care.

My child was born mid-week and I would like to take non-consecutive parental leave starting on the date of birth. How can I apply for this if my weeks must be from Sunday to Saturday after the birth date?

If your child was born mid-week, as an exception, you may start your non-consecutive parental leave on the date your child was born and take the first consecutive portion of your leave in seven day increments. Once there is a break in your leave, your remaining weeks must be taken from Sunday to Saturday.

As an example, if your child was born on a Wednesday, you may claim the first consecutive week(s) of your leave in seven day increments from Wednesday to Tuesday starting the date your child was born. Once there is a break in your leave, all remaining weeks must be taken from Sunday to Saturday.

My husband is also a physician. Can we both take parental leave?

Yes. If both parents are physicians and meet the eligibility requirements, both parents can apply for their own 8 weeks of parental leave. You and your husband can take your parental leaves at the same time or consecutively.

My husband will not be taking the full 8 weeks of parental leave. Can I transfer his unclaimed weeks to my leave?

No, unclaimed weeks are not transferrable between spouses. The maximum benefits for birth mothers remains as 17 weeks for all eligible physicians.

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Applying for PPLBP Benefits

Can I submit my application package before my child is born?

For pregnancy leave benefits, you may submit your application package no earlier than 2 weeks before you plan on going on leave. 
If you are applying for parental leave only, please submit your application after your child is born or after the adopted child was placed in your care for the first time. The earliest you may start your parental leave is the child's birth date or adoption placement date.

Do I need to complete the Part 2 – Income Confirmation form?

This will depend on your pre-leave income earnings. To calculate your weekly PPLBP benefit entitlement, a Part 2 – Income Confirmation form must be completed to verify all non-fee for service income sources that you earned in the 12-month period immediately before your leave start date. This form is not required for direct fee for service billings or Professional Association of Residents of Ontario (PARO) salary earnings.

Instead of a Part 2 – Income Confirmation form, can I submit a T4, Record of Employment, bank statement or letter from my employer to verify my earnings?

No, you must submit a Part 2 – Income Confirmation signed by your AFA administrator, group lead, office manager or employer. All other personal financial documents will be shredded.

I am having trouble obtaining my Part 2 – Income Confirmation form from my administrator/representative. Will my application still be accepted if I submit Part 2 after the application deadline?

If you are having difficulty obtaining Part 2, please notify the PPLBP office and submit the remainder of your application package by the submission deadline.

Will my benefits be paid retroactively if I submit my application package after I started my leave?

As long as your application is received by the submission deadline, your PPLBP benefits can be paid retroactively beginning when your leave first started.

I don't know when I will be starting my leave. Can I still submit an application package?

No, you will need to wait until you know the start date of your leave before submitting your application package. Incomplete applications will not be processed and may delay your benefit payments.

I will be taking my parental leave in non-consecutive weeks. Where do I declare the weeks of my leave?

The weeks you are on leave and your income earnings for those weeks must be declared on Part 3 – Declaration of Earned Income, "Income Earned by Week" section.

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Calculating the PPLBP Benefit

How much will my benefit be while I am on leave?

Your pregnancy and/or parental leave benefits will be calculated as 50% of your average weekly gross eligible earnings in Ontario for the 12-month period immediately before the start date of your pregnancy leave or parental leave. The maximum benefit is $1,000 per week.

If you have not been licensed to practice medicine in Ontario during the full 12-months prior to your leave, your benefits will be calculated based on the actual period of time you have been licensed to practice medicine in Ontario. Note: to be eligible, you must have been licensed during the full 26-weeks immediately before your leave start date.

Below is an example of wage table explaining how the benefits are calculated based on different 12-month gross eligible earnings:

Wage Table

12-month Gross Eligible Earnings Weekly Average (divide 52 weeks) 50% of Weekly Average (divide by 2) Weekly PPLBP Benefit (max $1,000/week)
$50,000 $50,000 / 52 = $961.54 $961.54 / 2 = $480.77 $480.77
$75,000 $75,000 / 52 = $1,442.31 $1,442.31 / 2 = $721.15 $721.15
$104,000 $104,000 / 52 = $2,000 $2,000 / 2 = $1,000 $1,000
$200,000 $200,000 / 52 = $3,846.15 $3,846.15 / 2 = $1,923.08 $1,000

What are "eligible earnings"?

Eligible earnings are earnings received for services remunerated by the Ministry through OHIP or received from an employer for providing OHIP-covered insured clinical services.
Examples of sources of income that are not eligible earnings are:

  • Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB)
  • insurance companies (i.e. Blue Cross)
  • drug/pharmaceutical companies
  • private and third party billings
  • University Health Insurance Program (UHIP)
  • funding for Electronic Medical Records (EMR)
  • research and teaching
  • uninsured services (i.e. sick notes, insurance forms, missed appointment fees, medical records transfer fees, etc.)
  • earnings from another jurisdiction (i.e. Manitoba or Quebec)

How much do my 12-month earnings need to be to receive the maximum PPLBP benefit?

To receive the maximum benefit of $1,000 per week, your gross eligible earnings during the 12 month period immediately preceding the start date of your leave must be $104,000 or greater.

How do I declare my income earnings if I am billing fee for service but my group pays me a salary from my billings?

You must declare your gross fee for service billings before deductions. Income that is attributed to a physician's OHIP billing number is deemed as income that was earned by the physician, regardless of any internal group payment arrangements.

How will receiving Employment Insurance (EI) benefits or Employer benefits affect my PPLBP benefits?

If you have or will be receiving EI and/or employer benefits at any time during your leave from your workplace, you will be eligible for a top-up from this program. This top-up is calculated as the difference between the gross weekly amount of your EI/employer benefits and your weekly PPLBP benefit entitlement. This top-up will be applied even if you receive your EI/employer benefits at a different time than your PPLBP leave.

Please note: you will not be eligible for a top-up if your EI and/or employer benefits are more than $1,000/week, even if you receive these other benefits at an earlier or later time than your PPLBP leave.

The EI Program is withholding my first two weeks of benefits. Will I receive my full PPLBP entitlement for these first two weeks?

If you are receiving EI benefits payments for the same number of weeks you are receiving PPLBP benefits, you will receive a top-up from the PPLBP for your full leave no matter when your EI benefits start.

Am I eligible to receive more PPLBP benefits if I am having a twins, triplets, etc.?

No. The number of weeks and the maximum benefit amount do not change for a multiple birth.

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Declaring Earned Income While You Are On Leave

Can I earn money while I am taking pregnancy and/or parental leave?

Yes, all physicians may earn up to $1,000/week (gross income) during their PPLBP leave. Your PPLBP benefits will be reduced, dollar for dollar, if you earn more than $1,000/week during the leave. Physicians who earn $2,000/week or more during their leave will not be eligible for PPLBP benefits due to high income earnings.

While I am on leave, I will be receiving delayed payments for services I provided before I started my leave. How will this affect my PPLBP benefits?

Delayed payments for clinical services that were provided before your leave will not affect your PPLBP benefits. Income earnings must be declared based on the date of service, not the date that payment is received.

I'm receiving a monthly payment during my leave. How do I declare the weekly amount?

To declare the weekly amount of monthly payments, please divide the earnings by the number of days the payment covers to determine the daily amount and then multiply by 7. For example, a payment that was for the full month of January would be divided by 31 (i.e. 31 days in January) and then multiplied by 7 (i.e. 7 days in a week).

I am incorporated and pay myself a salary.  What should I declare as my earnings while I am on leave?

You must declare all eligible earnings your corporation receives under your name for services you provide while you are on leave. Do not declare the salary you are withdrawing from your corporation.

There will be some months where I will not be taking any leave for my non-consecutive parental leave. Do I need to submit a Part 3 – Declaration of Earned Income for those months?

No, you only need to submit a Part 3 – Declaration of Earned Income for the weeks you are on leave. Do not include your earnings for the dates you are not on leave. All weeks that are declared will be processed as part of your non-consecutive parental leave.

I work in a capitation based model and will be using my on-going capitation payments to pay for locum coverage. Can I deduct this amount from my capitation payments?

Yes, you may deduct the payments you make directly to a locum from your capitation payments. To claim this deduction, your weekly gross capitation payment and your weekly deduction for locum coverage must be declared on your monthly Part 3 - Declaration of Earned Income form. A signed letter must be submitted from your locum to confirm the coverage dates and the weekly payment amount.

Can I deduct overhead expenses from my weekly earnings while I am leave?

No, overhead expenses cannot be deducted. Only payments made directly to a locum for providing coverage can be deducted from your on-going capitation payments.

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Receiving My Benefits

How long will it take to process my application?

Processing times depend on when your application is received and how complete your documents are. A confirmation email will be sent within 1-2 business days of receiving your application package to clarify any missing details or to provide you with the next steps of the application process.

When will I receive my first benefit cheque?

This will depend on when your application is received, how complete your documents are, and when your application is approved. Applications that are approved and have a Part 3 – Declaration of Earned Income on file by the 28th of the month will have the first cheque mailed by the 15th of the next month. For example, an application must be approved and have a Part 3 form on file by January 28th to receive a benefit cheque on February 15th.

Can my PPLBP benefit cheques be issued to my professional corporation?

PPLBP benefit cheques are issued to the physician who is taking the pregnancy and/or parental leave, not to professional corporations.

Do I need to provide a void cheque to PPLBP office to receive my benefit payments?

No, PPLBP benefits are not paid through direct deposits. Benefit payments are made by cheques and mailed to the home address provided in your Part 1 – Application form.

I will not receive a copy of my child's birth registration for 6-8 weeks. When is the latest I can send it in? Can I submit a copy of the hospital record instead of my child's birth registration?

You must submit a copy of the child's birth registration or adoption placement by the end of your pregnancy and/or parental leave through PPLBP. Personal hospital records, newborn records, or hospital discharge papers will not be accepted as birth registration.

Are PPLBP benefits taxable?

Yes, benefits are taxable. In February, the Ministry will provide you with a summary of the benefits it has paid you in the previous calendar year.

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For More Information

Call Pregnancy and Parental Leave Benefit Program INFOline at:
(416) 212-6212
Email: pplbp@ontario.ca
Hours of operation: 8:30 am to 5:00 pm