When a baby comes early, it can interrupt even the best-laid plans when it comes to finances and maternity/parental leave. Hospital stays can be expensive, and immediate loss of work income can be challenging for most families.
The first step to getting financial support is to connect with your hospital’s social worker, if available. Social workers know about available resources and which ones will be appropriate for you.
There are different programs available that may make additional weeks of leave available to parents, depending on individual work situations. Some mothers may be eligible for sick leave under their workplace benefit programs, and others might be eligible for Employment Insurance Sickness Benefits.
For other families the recently established Family Caregiver Benefit (launched December 3, 2017) may be appropriate. Talk with your employer about your individual work situations; some parents have reported issues when collective bargaining agreements are in conflict with benefit programs, and other parents have had difficulty receiving top-ups from employers when they don’t immediately take maternity/parental benefits.
Also keep in mind that, depending on how far you live from the hospital, you may be eligible to claim certain expenses on your taxes the year following hospitalization. Check with an accountant to see if you are eligible to claim any expenses, and save all receipts associated with your hospital stay.