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Self-Employed Women & "Maternity Leave"

Updated: Oct 28, 2022

Congratulations! Entering motherhood is going to be amazing and the best time of your life. As incredible as this experience will be, it will also come with stress, mess and hardship but there is literally nothing you cannot do (remember that!). You will get through this and you will be the best mother for your child.

If you’re self-employed, which is why I would assume you’re reading this, there are additional stressors like ‘what the hell do I do if I’m not working’ and ‘how do I afford a baby with no maternity leave pay’. I’ve gone through it and unfortunately I had to go through this part alone. It doesn’t matter who you call because no one knows anything about self-employed jobs and maternity leave not even the nice folks at Service Ontario. This stress on it’s own was enough to drive me into a crazy fatigue as I battled out pregnancy fatigue, trying not to over-stress, keeping the pregnancy a secret and still working like nothing has changed. Wasn’t a fun time but like any negative experience, I saw it as a great learning opportunity and here are some collective tips I would have liked to know prior to being pregnant.

  1. You DO have the option of applying for Employment Insurance (EI) however you must do this 12 months before getting pregnant (ridiculous, I know). Just apply online the moment you find out so you don’t miss out on 3+ months or apply the moment you and your partner start trying.

  2. If you choose to enter this agreement, you can find it on your own personal CRA account. It’s a quick click of a button that says “enter agreement”.

  3. Know that if you do choose to go the EI route with the government, you are in this contract for the rest of your working life. So you need to balance out whether it’s worth it or to just save up for the baby.

  4. When you “enter the agreement”, you have 30 days to terminate the contract without having to pay premium fees. After the 30 days, you still have the option to terminate this contract so long as you haven’t claimed any money yet but you will have to pay the premium fee for the year you entered and terminated the agreement.

  5. There are different rules for different types of self-employed workers (ie. health practitioners vs. hairstylists).

Remember, the government has options to “help” you but understand what you’re getting yourself into before committing and really assess the situation you are in.

Know that there is no right or wrong answer here, this blog is simply letting self-employed women know their options rather than thinking there are no options or help during this amazingly chaotic time in their life.

Enjoy the ride, enjoy the growth and enjoy the love you're about to experience!

Jeannette Quach

Certified Athletic Therapist, Registered Massage Therapist

Please direct any questions about the article or any sports/injury/motherhood questions to

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