Parent or caregiver? What the feds' EI changes mean for you
Published Thursday, November 9, 2017 12:08PM EST
Last Updated Thursday, November 9, 2017 12:15PM EST
OTTAWA – Today, Minister of Families, Children and Social Development Jean-Yves Duclos announced that changes to the Employment Insurance program, announced as part of in the 2017 federal budget, will be coming into effect in less than a month.
The changes impact maternity, parental, and caregiver leave, and come into effect on Dec. 3, when they will be applicable to new claims, for Canadians who are eligible for EI, which for the parental benefits parents means you must have accumulated 600 hours of insurable employment in the previous year.
Here's what you need to know.
Changes to EI maternity benefits and leave:
Employment Insurance maternity benefits provide up to 15 weeks of benefits for birth mothers and surrogates. Currently, women who are expecting can claim the benefits eight weeks prior to their expected due date. As of Dec. 3, the benefits can be claimed 12 weeks prior.
These benefits will continue to be paid at a rate of 55 per cent of average weekly earnings, up to $543 a week.
Changes to the EI parental benefits and leaves:
As of Dec. 3, parents (biological and adoptive) can choose between two options for parental benefits, although the overall value of the benefits is not changing. This tweak provides families an option to spread the money over a longer period of time.
- Standard: up to 35 weeks of EI benefits over a period of up to 12 months at 55 per cent average weekly earnings, to a maximum of $543 per week, ending a year after the child is born or placed with the family.
- Extended: up to 61 weeks of EI benefits over a period of up to 18 months at a 33 per cent average weekly earnings, to a maximum of $326 per week, ending 78 weeks after the child is born or placed with the family.
*The maternity and parental benefits do not apply to residents of Quebec, as they have a separate provincial plan.
Changes to EI caregiving benefits:
The new supports for EI-eligible caregivers kicks in Dec. 3. It groups existing benefits into two categories, and applies to Canadians who leave work to care for a family member.
Family Caregiver benefits:
- Family Caregiver benefit for adults: Allows for 15 weeks of benefits to care for an adult family member (18 years of age or older) who is critically ill, within a year.
- Family Caregiver benefit for children: Allows for 35 weeks of benefits to care for a child (under 18 years of age) who is critically ill, extending past parents to include any extended family member or individuals considered to be “like family,” within a year.
As well, nurse practitioners and doctors will be able to sign medical certificates to declare a child is critically ill, rather than the specialist doctors who can do so now.
Compassionate Care benefits:
The benefit itself has not changed. It allows for 26 weeks of benefits for Canadians who are off work to care for a family member who has a serious medical condition with a significant risk of death, within the next 26 weeks.
As of Dec. 3, nurse practitioners and doctors will be accepted when applying for the Compassionate Care benefit.