Preventive withdrawal for a pregnant or breastfeeding employee: What you should know

Has one of your workers submitted a Preventive Withdrawal and Reassignment Certificate for a Pregnant or Breastfeeding Worker ?

This certificate means that, for the duration of the employee’s pregnancy or breastfeeding, your employee must take up a position that is adapted to their needs and safe for them and their child. If their duties cannot be temporarily adjusted to their new situation, the worker will be granted preventive withdrawal.

Where to start?

If one of your employees hands you this certificate, you must first determine whether you can immediately:

  • Eliminate the hazards outlined in the certificate
  • Adjust the worker’s duties, or
  • Assign them to another position

If you can, a preventive withdrawal is not necessary, but the option is still available.

CNESST: Financial support application and declaration

Promptly inform CNESST that the worker exercised their right to the “For a Safe Maternity Experience” program. You may apply for financial support from CNESST if your employee temporarily occupies a part time or lower wage position.

During the employee’s reassignment, they keep their regular salary. For financial support, fill out the Soutien financier à l'employeur lors de l'affectation d'une travailleuse enceinte ou qui allaite form.

When is preventive withdrawal necessary?

Should you need time to eliminate hazards, adjust the worker’s duties or assign them to another position, the worker will leave on preventive withdrawal until the necessary changes have been made.

Your employee may return to work at any time during their withdrawal, if:

  • The hazards have been eliminated,
  • Their tasks have been adjusted, or
  • They have been assigned to another position

The worker must agree to any reassignment you offer them, as long as they are reasonably capable of performing their new duties and they and their child are not in danger.

If you are unable to eliminate hazards, adjust the worker’s duties or assign them to another position, they must go on preventive withdrawal until they give birth.

In that case, you must pay them their regular salary for the first five business days of their preventive withdrawal. This amount cannot be reimbursed by CNESST. For the following 14 calendar days, you must pay them 90% of their net wages (gross pay minus deductions for provincial and federal income tax, the Québec Pension Plan, the Québec Parental Insurance Plan and employment insurance). For CNESST to reimburse this pay, fill out the Demande de remboursement pour un retrait préventif de la travailleuse enceinte ou qui allaite form.

Important reminders:

  • The employee retains all benefits associated with their regular job during the reassignment or preventive withdrawal.
  • You must reinstate the employee in their regular job at the end of the reassignment or preventive withdrawal.

When in doubt, your CFIB counsellor can help answer your questions!