New: Emergency Care Benefit
Yesterday, the federal government announced further financial support for workers and businesses impacted by COVID-19. For workers who do not have access to paid sick leave or do not qualify for Employment Insurance, the government has introduced the Emergency Care Benefit. Those eligible include:
- workers who are quarantined or sick with COVID-19 but do not qualify for EI sickness benefits,
- workers who are taking care of a family member who is sick with COIVD-19, but do not qualify for EI sickness benefits, and
- workers with children who require supervision due to school/daycare closures and so are unable to earn employment income, whether or not they qualify for EI.
These benefits will provide up to $900 bi-weekly for a maximum of 15 weeks.
Emergency Support Benefit
The government has also introduced the Emergency Support Benefit. This benefit is to support workers who are not eligible for EI and who are facing unemployment. This is intended to be a long-term income support but the government has not yet said how much it will provide, or how long funds will be given out.
Employment Insurance Sickness Benefits
The federal government has waived the one-week waiting period for those in quarantine claiming EI sickness benefits. The government has also announced that it will waive the requirement to provide a medical certificate in order to access these benefits.
Employment Insurance Regular Benefits
There is still a one-week waiting period for EI regular benefits. Under section 39 of the Employment Insurance Regulations, most claimant earnings during this period will be deducted from the benefits subsequently paid to the claimant. The only exceptions to this rule are:
- employer payments for sick leave, maternity leave or child/family care leave; and
- Payments under a wage-loss indemnity plan for illness, injury, quarantine, or care for a child or family member.
All other claimant earnings during the one-week waiting period will be deducted from the benefits paid to a claimant. Total deductions for the one-week waiting period will not exceed the claimant’s rate of weekly benefits.