To Labour, Community and other Allies:
On July 30, the government announced modest changes that impact the 3 Recovery Benefits and new EI claims. This has led to some questions (and confusion) about the status of the various qualifying rules, durations and benefit rates.
See the links below for the 2-page summary with web links for further information.
- EI The Recovery Benefit is increased by 4 weeks to a new maximum of 54 weeks, now ending Oct 23. There is no change in the reduction to $300 weekly ($270 after tax withholding) that took effect July 18 for this benefit.
- EI claimants who exhaust 50 weeks of EI without enough insurable hours for a new EI claim can also apply for up to 4 weeks of the Recovery Benefit between Sept 26 and Oct 23.
- The Recovery Caregiving Benefit is now available until Oct. 23, but with no change to the current maximum of 42 weeks per household. It continues at $500 weekly ($450 after tax withholding). The Recovery Sickness Benefit is also now available until Oct. 23, but with no change to the maximum of four weeks. It also continues at $500 weekly ($450 after tax withholding).
- A number of EI temporary measures terminate for new claims after Sept 25. For example, they will not be covered by the temporary 120-hour qualifying rule. They will require 420 hours for Regular and Special EI benefits. Friday's announcement does impact the benefit rate for new EI claims. The temporary minimum benefit is now extended for new claims until Nov. 20 - but at $300 weekly (not the current $500). It was set to terminate Sept 25 for new claims.
- Current EI claims: The attached Memo offers some good advice for workers with a current EI claim. If they have accumulated another 420 hours and expect a layoff in late September it may be to their advantage to end their existing claim by the middle of Sept, well before Sept 25. This would allow them to benefit from the conditions in place until Sept 25. They would start a new claim with a new 50-week benefit period and a minimum of $500 weekly. This also applies to current EI claimants who are low wage earners and expecting to take a parental leave in late September. Provided they have accumulated 420 hours, they may benefit from the minimum $500 weekly for claims that begin before Sept 25. In all cases, the claimant must initiate the process; Service Canada will not do it automatically.
- Laurell Ritchie and Mary Gellatly
On behalf of the Inter-provincial EI Working Group