Post # 32
@bbfyso: Another foreigner who has moved to the US and finds the maternity system sub-par (and sub-par is me censoring myself 😉 ). Ignoring the misinformation on taxes (in NZ I pay about the same as I do in the US, with slightly higher sales tax), even if it were 50% I would still opt for high taxes if I can have excellent social programmes, schools, healthcare and maternity/paternity conditions.
The thing is the US system hurts families in a lot of ways, not just the lack of maternity leave. For example, Darling Husband and I are low income, and not for lack of trying – we have spent a huge amount of time applying for jobs and grad schools. We lost most of our savings on immigration etc, but have been trying to build steadily. Our out of pocket maximums for me + baby are 5k. That means that we effectively need to find 5k in case I end up c-section and baby ends up in NICU. At home, this would all be absolutely free, and then I would have paid maternity leave on top of that. Furthermore, the actual amount of care I get at home is higher – more prenatal and postnatal care and a longer hospital/birth centre stay (If I choose, of course). Darling Husband and I are seriously looking at moving.
Post # 33
@cbgg: I live in Montreal. So I am speaking from our personal case. Living in Quebec.
Total nightmare. I did mean it as a Joke. When we make our calculation compared to the US ….well taxes are death. But I was being funny.
@turnanewleaf: my husband gets taxed 43.59%
then you add the house taxes scolaire taxes food taxes gas taxes……so In april when our accountant is done I will scan you the slip and you will owe me 100 CAD
I love Canada. I am here by choice. I hate Canadian Taxes and for us they are terrible compared to what we paid in the Us. SO no harm done here just my 2 cents. Of my case
Post # 34
@farawayviolet: it is not free. You pay for it with your taxes. That is something that has to be clear. It is not free at all. WHy dont you have insurance? I have lived everywhere in the world and I have always had insurance….. And when we lived in the Us I had insurance that covered pregnancy that covered every single thing….it is a pain but you have too. Same thing before I became a permanent resident and having a baby in Montreal would have cost me 12 000 for c section and 7000 a day at the hospital.
anyways it is silly to compare both systems because what works for Canada s small population…wont neccesarly work for US big population. The biggest issue for the us at least in my opinion is that pre existing conditions are not covered by any insurance and then you are litteraly screwed because you cant get insured.
Post # 35
I was thinking about how we could implement the maternity/paternity leave in USA, and I have a few questions. (Sorry if this is thread jacking. )
How does a man qualify for a full year paternity leave? Is it up to employer’s discretion, does he have to be married to the woman, or is it just his name on the birth certificate?
In America, certain people qualify for daycare assistance meaning they have some or all of their day care cost subsidize by the government. Does Canada have this program? If so, is it null and void during the year of leave?
I think Canada has some awesome programs that work well for them. I would love to have a clearer tax system and a transparent government. But I also know Americans would scream socialism and throw rocks. I love my country and being an American, but I do wish we were open to change.
Post # 36
@HawaiiBamaBride: the other parent (I say this because same sex partnerships are treated equally) can take 35 weeks of Employment Insurance Parental Leave. there is an additional 15 weeks of Maternity Leave for the biological mother only. So 50 weeks total per pregnancy/adoption. Add a two week unpaid period, and it’s one year. But if the parents share the 35 parental, benefits end earlier. It is not 35 weeks of parental per parent.
On every paycheque you pay a portion into the program, up to a yearly maximum. As long as you have worked 600 hours within the last year (or since you last applied, whichever is closer) you qualify.
Post # 37
@HawaiiBamaBride: Parents can share leave. Dad wouldn’t get a full year. There are 2 parts to the year leave: 15 weeks maternity (mom only) and then 35 parental (which both parents can split or one can take) and applies to adoption as well. That comes out to 50 total weeks, with a 2 week waiting period which serves as your insurance deductible.
Employers have no say in the matter, they have to keep the position for the employee. They don’t have to pay anything, but they may choose to top up. The parents don’t have to live together, but if you are a legal parent you have a right to take parental leave.
We have daycare subsidies for people below a certain take home pay as well as subsidies for licensed dayhomes. There is also the $100/m child tax benefit, a $100 cheque per child per month up to 18 years of age. I suppose that helps off-set things.
I do believe you are entitled to daycare subsidies even if you stay at home but I’m not sure. They would calculate your EI as part of your family income. You can be entitled to EI while also earning too high of a family income to get daycare subsidies. You could be eligible for subsidies with your EI income but when you go back to work at 100%, might no longer qualify. You are able to earn a small amount of income while on parental leave without affecting your benefit as well, but it isn’t much.
This whole thing is sort of a government tax, but only sort of. It’s just another part of the employment insurance program. In the US you get unemployment benefits when you lose a job through no fault of your own. Here it is just extended to include mat/parental leave, sickness leave and compassionate care leave (sick family member). It isn’t a separate gov’t program with extra income tax deducted to fund it. It’s mandatory insurance and is self-sufficient, arms length (well…ideally…) from gov’t operations.
Post # 38
@bbfyso: I do have insurance. I’m only talking about the coinsurance, out of pocket limits etc. If I have a normal birth I’m likely to only pay about $1000, but you don’t know what is going to hit you. Even under the ACA out of pocket limits can still be as high as 6kpp. Ours are 2.5k pp. DH’s company only offers one plan and we haven’t found a better plan on the free market. Also, we frankly can’t afford to buy one on the free market (judge all you like, millions of people here are in a similar situation). Even if we are finally lucky enough to have the opportunity, which wasn’t even an option before due to non-pregnancy related preexisting conditions in both of us.
And I know it isn’t fee but it is much more equitable and affordable than the US system. At the moment the US spends more on non-universal care (medicare + medicaid) than most countries do on universal. I’d rather pay less for care for all than more for care for less.
Anyway, didn’t want to derail, more point out that for a lot of women in the US it’s multiple factors that make it harder than other countries.
Post # 39
@HawaiiBamaBride: Additional to the the points that @TammieRei: and @turnanewleaf: made, the EI maternity/parental benefits only pay you 55% of your income up to a maximum of $515/week (so, max salary of ~48k/year). This amount is also taxed. This means that if you are getting that max EI pay you will end up taking home about $1750/month after tax.
Post # 40
I would have killed for a paid year off! In California (at least when I lived there), maternity leave is paid as disability and a woman receives 6 weeks paid time off (8 if you have a c-section). I believe it’s 60% of one’s monthly income (it’s been a while). Here in Oregon, there is NO paid time off, at all.
Post # 41
@HawaiiBamaBride: I can’t speak for Canada, but I can say for New Zealand, which has similar programmes. Dad qualifies by existing. I believe, however, that apart form the first 2? weeks, only one parent can take it at one time. That can be completely Mum, completely Dad, or a mixture. I will say in NZ it’s only paid for 14 weeks – I hope one day we will take a leaf from Canada’s book!
We also have subsidised childcare for children. Furthermore, once children hit 3, they are entitled to 20 hours/week early childhood education for free, regardless of parental income.
Post # 42
Im so insanely jealous of these leaves BUT as an SLP working in the school systems in the Northeast, I do get to take up to a year plus 12 weeks FMLA for child rearing without pay and thankfully my seniority in my company is high enough I would be all but guarenteed my job back. So I think my Darling Husband and I are going to suck it up, drop my income for a year and I’ll be home. Since it looks like half of my salary would have gone to childcare anyway, it just made more sense for me to stay home. It sucks that I’m basically playing roulette with my job and career but this is the sacrifice I get to take. :-/ I’m more fortunate than most though in the US.
Post # 43
@bbfyso: I’m not sure what personal experience you have with that kind of taxation, but 50% sounds wildly exorbitant to me unless you are making quite a tidy sum. Ours in the UK is 20% on an above-national-average income. We have completely free healthcare and I get a year of paid maternity leave. The quality of care I have received here with all medical issues is on par with–indeed, possibly superior to–the care I received growing up in the US… and medical care is only a snippet of what my taxes accomplish.
ETA: I just read that you are in Canada… not sure what the situation is like there, but surely the high tax you pay is partly due to your husband’s tax bracket…. It’s not really a like-for-like comparison. Even in the US people are heavily taxed on their income if they make enough.
Post # 44
For those of you who have the option to take a whole year off, I added a poll. A little late, I know, 🙂
Post # 45
Wow! Lots of interesting discussions. I’m in ON and I plan to take the whole year off. Darling Husband will not because he works from home anyways so its win-win for us. Also, I am pretty fortunate to work with an employer that will top up my EI so as it stands I will be making somewhere in the ball park of 93% – 97% of my income. This helps immensely and I am certainly grateful for it. However, I have been told that because my employer pays half of my salary and EI covers the other, I will be heavily taxed. That being said, I am working with my HR department for them to remove as much tax as possible so I’m not hit with a hefty tax bill next year.
Post # 46
Thanks for the information. It really sounds like it benefits the citizens of your countries. It doesn’t sound like a hand out either, more like a benefit you get from paying in.