Laid Off Before Your Maternity Leave in Canada? Here’s What You Should Do (2024)

Were you laid off before your maternity leave in Canada benefits kicked in?

Expecting mothers may begin collecting EI maternity leave benefits as early as 12 weeks before their expected due date.

However, if you’re fired or laid off before this period, you may be ineligible to collect maternity leave benefits. I’ll go over the requirements below.

Plus, I’ll show you some easy ways to earn side income during (and after) your pregnancy so that you can stay on top of your bills and finances.

Can You Be Laid Off Before Receiving Maternity Leave?

An employer can fire an employee or lay them off before they begin receiving maternity leave and other parental benefits. However, they cannot let an employee go because they’re about to go on maternity leave, as this violates federal labour laws.

Employers are also required to consider job reassignment or allow a temporary reduction of responsibilities for expecting mothers.

In other words, it’s illegal for a business to fire an individual for reasons relating to their pregnancy or their plans to take maternity leave. If you believe that you were fired due to discrimination relating to your pregnancy, you can file a complaint with the federal Labour Program.

That being said, businesses can fire an individual before maternity for a legitimate reason. For example, if you’re caught stealing or violating other company regulations, the company can let you go before you begin receiving benefits.

Can You Be Laid Off During Maternity Leave?

Labour laws protect mothers who are on maternity leave and fathers who are taking parental leave. An employer cannot fire an employee or lay them off during their maternity leave program, as this would be discriminatory.

The employee has a legal right to return to the same position and receive the same pay as before their maternity leave.

4 Income Ideas If You’re Laid Off Before Maternity Leave Kicks In

If you suddenly find yourself jobless before your maternity leave benefits kick in, here are some ideas to help you bring in extra income. All of these ideas involve minimal physical labour and typically have flexible hours, allowing you to work them around your schedule.

1. Become A Virtual Assistant

Virtual assistant

Working as a virtual assistant online offers flexibility, autonomy, and the opportunity to collaborate with a diverse range of clients. Tasks can vary, including:

  • Scheduling
  • Data entry
  • Research
  • Content creation

Strong organizational and communication skills are recommended. Additionally, you may be asked to learn software programs your employers use, which can involve some adaptability.

You can find full-time or part-time employment for a single individual or business by looking on job platforms like Alternatively, you could take on multiple small clients and work on a contract basis. The choice is yours, and there’s tons of flexibility with this role.

2. Freelance Online


Before launching Wealth Awesome, I was a freelance writer. This was my gateway out of my 9-to-5 and allowed me to travel the world while developing my entrepreneurial pursuits.

Writing isn’t the only freelance work, though. With the ever-growing popularity of remote work, you can find freelance jobs as a graphic designer, social media manager, audio narrator, photographer, and more. Depending on your skill level and area of expertise, you could earn anywhere from $20 to $50 per hour.

3. Drive For A Rideshare Company

Driving for a rideshare company like Uber or Lyft is a great way to earn some money on the side, especially if you live near a busy city or town. As long as you have a newer vehicle that’s in good shape and a clean driving record, you can make anywhere between $15 and $25 per hour picking people up and dropping them off.

Unlike food delivery, you’ll rarely have to get in and out of the car, making it a physically easy side hustle.

4. Become An Online Proofreader/Editor


If you have an eye for detail, consider freelancing as a proofreader or content editor. Blogs and content creators often require an extra set of eyes to read through the content, scan for grammar/spelling errors, and even edit/format the content.

Even I rely on a virtual proofreader to double-check my blog posts before they go live on Wealth Awesome.

Conclusion – Don’t Forget To Budget

If you’re laid off before maternity leave, budgeting is just as important as finding an easy side hustle to replace your income. With a proper budget, you can stretch your limited income further, allowing you to work less and focus on yourself.

Looking for a place to start?

Keep on reading to see my best tips for saving money on a budget!

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Author Bio - Christopher Liew is a CFA Charterholder with 11 years of finance experience and the creator of Read about how he quit his 6-figure salary career to travel the world here.

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