Employment Insurance temporary improvements
For all the announced changes, we must ensure no one is left behind. That means fighting to ensure migrant workers, who are so essential to our economy, get the support they need.
Here’s a summary of the EI changes that will be in effect for one year, beginning August 9, 2020:
Workers need only 120 hours of work to be eligible for EI benefits.
This is a significant reduction from the 420 to 700 hours required under the old rules.
Weekly benefits will provide a floor of $400 per week.
This is less than the $500 a week we were calling for, but significantly higher than what hundreds of thousands of workers would have received under the old rules. And there is still time to call on the government to increase regular benefits to $500 weekly.
All workers receiving EI will have access to support for a minimum of 26 weeks (about 6 months).
This is up from the meagre 14 weeks (about 3 months) that some workers got under the old rules, but we need to insist that all workers have access to at least 52 weeks of income support.
New (Temporary) Income Support Programs
Available for one year, beginning September 27, 2020
1) Recovery Benefit for those not eligible for EI
This benefit mirrors the minimums offered under the temporary rules for regular EI benefits, that is, $400 in weekly income support for at least 26 weeks. As noted above, we need $500 a week in income, and access to at least 52 weeks of support.
2) Caregiving Benefit
This benefit will provide $500 in weekly income support for at least 26 weeks, to workers and the self-employed who stay home to care for a child or another dependent because of school or daycare closures, or because a doctor said they could not attend. As noted above, we need access to at least 52 weeks of income support.
3) Sickness Benefit
This benefit will provide $500 in weekly income support for up to two weeks to workers and the self-employed without access to paid sick leave through other means. This benefit will be available to workers and the self-employed who are sick or who must self-isolate due to COVID-19. While it will help some workers, this provision falls short of the permanent, legislated, employer-paid sick days we have been calling for.
To read more about the principles for effective paid sick leave for all, read the recent report from the Decent Work and Health Network Before it’s Too Late: How to close the paid sick days gap during COVID-19 and beyond https://www.decentworkandhealth.org/beforetoolate
To join the pan-Canadian day of action for paid sick leave on August 29, click here: https://www.15andfairness.org/paidsickdays_aug29_2020