March 23, 2016

in Government Updates

2016 Federal Budget: Sweeping changes to Employment Insurance

On Tuesday the 2016 Federal Budget proposed to amend the rules to reduce the number of hours worked before new entrants and re-entrants are eligible for EI regular benefits. Another change being proposed is that the EI waiting period will be reduced to one week, down from two, effective January 1, 2017.

“We’re looking forward to more details into how this change could potentially impact employers’ payments for scenarios like maternity leave top up,” said Accompass Vice President Tiina Liivet. “In addition, I’m interested in seeing more information from the government about the qualifications for EI premium reduction, and whether short-term disability costs for private plans will be impacted.”

The Working While on Claim pilot project is also being extended, allowing individuals to work while collecting benefits. Job search requirements are being simplified as well, and extending the benefit eligibility window in areas with high rates of unemployment.

Other updates to EI include the extension of the maximum duration of work-sharing agreements to 76 weeks from 38, allowing for income support to employees eligible for EI benefits who work a temporarily reduced work schedule due to temporary reductions in the normal level of business activity beyond the control of the employer.

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