Author: Sunshine G.
As Canadians, we’re very, very lucky – providing that you’ve been working, you receive a year off on maternity/parental benefits to be split between the two parents, paid at roughly 55% of your earnings to a max of $524/week before tax (as of 2015 information – it indexes yearly).
After tax, that works out to roughly $934 every two weeks for a year. Depending on your employer, you may get additional money as a top-up as part of your employment contract for some or all of the parental leave. Your job is held for you during that time.
While this is amazing, and I’m enormously grateful for it, $934 every two weeks is a significant drop from my regular salary, and comes at a time with hugely increased and immediate baby expenses. So what’s a girl (or guy) to do?
Here are a few ways to make some cash while on maternity/parental leave:
Sign Up Your Baby with a Talent Agency
Newborns are in short supply and often used for brief moments in film. Laws will vary per province, but in BC, the child actor laws that apply to infants mean that your angel will be “at work” for about fifteen minutes at a time and will be paid well for it. As the caregiver and guardian, you will also be paid, although it’s generally minimum wage. Sets usually provide food for cast and crew, and you’ll essentially be paid to eat, watch what’s going on around you and keep an eye on your baby.
Do a Google search for local kids’ talent agencies in your area, check your provincial employment standards and go from there.
Sell Baby Items As You Finish With Them
That Bumbo that was indispensable for about three months is now completely unneeded once Dimples can sit up on her own unencumbered. Unless you’re sure you’ll be having another child, you may want to sell it and free up some space. Try easy sales sites such as Varagesale.com or Craigslist to offload items, or consider getting a table at a kids’ swap meet.
Consider Freelance Writing
Once the initial sleep deprivation has worn off and the baby is sleeping in longer stretches, you’ll have a couple of naptimes a day to play with. If you’re of the writing bent, this might be your time to start. Try jobs.problogger.net and see what your subject matter expect knowledge could turn into, or even consider writing an article and soliciting your favourite magazine or local paper to see if they’re interested.
Start Entering Contests
There is a whole other article on this and an entire community of people who enter contests obsessively and do quite well. It’s a numbers game, really – if you start doing something forty-five minutes a day consistently, it’s going to pay off…whether it be working out or entering contests.
Download a form filler such as Roboform, or use the Autofill software on your browser, and do a search for ‘contest sites in Canada’ and get started. I use Contestgirl.com primarily, but there are a number of sites out there. I’ve won everything from a years’ supply of pasta to three weeks in Italy – it’s worth your while to enter, even if the payoff isn’t immediate!
So there are a few suggestions once you leave Planet Newborn. After you and baby settle into a routine, start thinking of how you can use the time to your advantage!
**Please note that while on EI in Canada, you do need to report earnings – so if you’re freelance writing or doing talent agency work, these are going to be taxed down the road and will be deducted from EI if it’s beyond a certain amount.
Check out Service Canada for details on how income affects maternity and parental benefits.
Photo Credit: Free Images/Ariel Camilo