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Maternity/Parental Allowance Return to Duty Obligation/BenefitsClawbacks

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September 13, 2001

The purpose of this bulletin is to:

  • provide clarification regarding the reimbursement of the maternity/parental allowance by employees who leave the Public Service (i.e., a PSSRA, Part I, Schedule I department) prior to completing their return to duty obligation as stipulated in the relevant collective agreement; and
  • inform departments of the changes to the Employment Insurance Act as they pertain to "clawbacks" of benefits.

Return to Duty Obligation

Generally speaking, the return to duty provision wording found in the various collective agreements stipulate that employees are indebted to the "Employer" if they fail to return to duty for the period specified in the collective agreement following a period of maternity/parental leave without pay. The "Employer" is defined as "Her Majesty in right of Canada as represented by the Treasury Board" (i.e., PSSRA, Part I, Schedule I departments).

It should be noted, therefore, that employees who leave a particular department (i.e., PSSRA, Part I, Schedule I) to obtain employment with another department (i.e., PSSRA, Part I, Schedule I) prior to completing their return to duty obligation, will meet this obligation if they complete the balance of the required work period with the new department. However, if the employees leave a particular department (i.e., PSSRA, Part I, Schedule I) to obtain employment with a separate employer (i.e., PSSRA, Part I, Schedule II; e.g., CCRA) prior to completing their return to duty obligation, they will be indebted to the Employer and will have to reimburse the relevant portion of their maternity/parental allowance.

CCRA will be issuing similar direction to its' organisational staff. Other separate employers may wish to do so as well.

Benefits "Clawbacks"

Bill C-2, An Act to Amend the Employment Insurance Act, received Royal Assent on May 10, 2001. With the passage of this Bill, the "clawback" of benefits at income tax time no longer applies to individuals receiving maternity, parental, or sick benefits. This change is retroactive to taxation year 2000.

Further details about the changes to the Employment Insurance Act resulting from the passage of Bill C-2 can be found on the Human Resources Development Canada Web site at the following address:

http://www.hrdc-drhc.gc.ca/common/news/insur/01-28.shtml

Departmental Human Resources managers should direct any questions that they may have to their corporate compensation officials who, if need be, can contact the Pay Administration Section.

Thomas A. Smith
Director, Pay Administration Section
Labour Relations Division
Human Resources Branch

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