Graduate Teaching Assistants

This summary has been prepared by Human Resource Services to assist Graduate Teaching Assistants (“GTAs”) seeking information regarding benefits that may be available to them during a pregnancy, parental or adoption leave. Please refer to Article 25 of the GTA Collective Agreement for full details.


  • As employees, GTAs may be eligible for Pregnancy and Parental Leave in accordance with the Employment Standards Act.
  • Only GTAs who have been employed as a GTA for at least one term prior to the commencement of the leave may be eligible for paid benefits provided by Western in accordance with the GTA Collective Agreement.
  • In order to be eligible for paid benefits, the GTA must be on a pregnancy, parental or adoption leave from an active GTA appointment. However, a GTA may be eligible to receive paid benefits where the expected date of delivery or adoption occurs after, but within eight (8) months of, the expiry of the GTA’s contract provided that upon the date of the leave, the GTA meets the department and program conditions for funding and progression.

Unpaid Leave:

  • Pregnancy leave may be for a period of seventeen (17) weeks and may begin up to 17 weeks prior to the expected due date of the child.
  • Parental leave will be extended to any GTA who becomes a parent of a newborn or newly adopted child(ren). Parental leave, when taken by a female GTA who has also taken a pregnancy leave, must immediately follow the pregnancy leave and may be for a period up to sixty-one (61) weeks. For birth mothers who have not taken a pregnancy leave, and all other new parents, parental leave may be for a period of sixty-three (63 weeks). Parental leave cannot begin until the baby is born or until the date the child first comes into the care, custody and control of the parent.
  • Parental leave must begin no later than seventy-eight (78) weeks after the child is born or comes into the care and control of the parent for the first time.
  • A GTA must inform the person designated by the Department, School or Faculty where the GTA works, in writing, of his or her plans for taking leave at least four (4) weeks in advance of the start of the leave.
  • While on pregnancy or parental leave, a GTA must also be on leave from any other appointments that generate T4 earnings held with the University, for example, an RA appointment.

Paid Benefits Provided by Western:

  • Eligible GTAs will receive the following paid benefits for up to twenty (20) weeks – 100% of the employee’s weekly GTAship rate for the first two (2) weeks, and 55% of the employee’s weekly GTAship rate for the remaining period.
  • Note that it is the responsibility of the GTA to evaluate their options in determining how to proceed with any application for benefits, including externally funded benefits for which they may be eligible.
  • To apply for the paid benefits, a GTA must complete the GTA Pregnancy/Parental/Adoption Leave Benefit application form. The completed form may be submitted to Human Resources using ASK HR.
  • Human Resources will email the GTA to advise on the status of the application and any next steps. If the GTA meets all of the eligibility requirements, the paid benefits will be direct deposited on the regular monthly pay date.


For more information on leaves of absence including the student bursary please refer to the School of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies (SGPS) or contact Christopher Bell, SGPS at 519-661-2111 x82102 or email

If you have questions regarding the GTA benefits provided by Western please use ASK HR to contact Human Resources or call 519-495-7717.

This website is provided for information and planning purposes for Western employees only. While every effort has been made to ensure its accuracy, if any conflict exists between the information on this website and the provisions of the various collective agreements or applicable legislation, the collective agreements or legislation prevail.

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