Supplementing maternity, parental, compassionate care or family caregiver benefits
Employment Insurance improvements
The following improvements have been made to the EI Program, in order to better support workers who take time off due to specific life events. We encourage you to review the terms of your benefit plans to assess any implications they may have for your organization and employees:
- caregivers who provide care to a critically ill or injured adult family member can access a new benefit of up to 15 weeks
- immediate and extended family members of children who are critically ill can access a new benefit that was previously available only to parents. It replaced the Parents of Critically Ill Children benefit and continues to provide up to 35 weeks of benefits
- parents choose the option that best meets their family’s needs: standard parental benefits or extended parental benefits:
- standard parental benefits can be paid for a maximum of 35 weeks and must be claimed within a 52-week period (12 months) after the week the child was born or placed for the purpose of adoption. The benefits are available to biological, adoptive, or legally recognized parents at a weekly benefit rate of 55% of the claimant’s average weekly insurable earnings up to a maximum amount
- extended parental benefits can be paid for a maximum of 61 weeks and must be claimed within a 78-week period (18 months) after the week the child was born or placed for the purpose of adoption. The benefits are available to biological, adoptive, or legally recognized parents at a weekly benefit rate of 33% of the claimant’s average weekly insurable earnings up to a maximum amount
- eligible pregnant workers can receive EI maternity benefits earlier, up to 12 weeks before their due date
- parents can now share up to 40 weeks of parental benefits with the standard option and up to 69 weeks of parental benefits with the extended option. However, 1 parent cannot get more than 35 weeks of standard or 61 weeks of extended parental benefits, requiring the other parent(s) to take some time off in order to receive the extra weeks. When parents apply for and share parental benefits, they may be eligible for 1 of the following:
Employers can offer supplemental payments to maternity, parental (including adoption) or caregiving benefits (including compassionate care, family caregiver benefit for children and family caregiver benefit for adults). These plans do not have to be registered with Service Canada. The top-up amounts are not considered as earnings and are not deducted from the employees’ EI benefits when certain requirements are met.
This section is applicable to employers who provide top-ups to maternity, parental (including adoption) compassionate care or family caregiver benefits.
Employers who provide supplemental payments to their employees while they receive EI benefits during a period of temporary stoppage of work, training, illness, injury or quarantine should refer to the following link: Employers supplementing EI benefits during a period of temporary stoppage of work, training or illness. Payments originating from these plans will not be deducted from EI benefits when the plans are registered with Service Canada.
Requirements that must be met
The supplement is not deducted from the employees’ EI benefits if the plan meets the following 2 conditions:
- when the payment is added to the employee’s EI weekly benefits, the combined amount does not exceed the employee’s normal weekly earnings from employment— 100% of gross salary
- the payment is not used to reduce other accumulated employment benefits such as banked sick leave, vacation leave credits, or severance pay
Employers are not required to register plans used to supplement EI maternity, parental, compassionate care or family caregiver benefits with Service Canada.
However, records still have to be kept to show the effective date of the plan and that it meets the 2 conditions previously mentioned.
The supplement can be paid during the EI waiting period without affecting the start of the EI benefits.
Information for employees
The employee who will receive a supplement will have to indicate it on their application for maternity, parental, compassionate care or family caregiver benefits.
In addition, if work is performed during that period, the employee must declare the money received which may be deducted from their EI benefits.
Additional requirements may be added to the employer’s plan providing it does not affect the 2 specific conditions. For example, the plan may require that the employee return to work for the employer for a period of at least 6 months after the maternity, parental, compassionate care or family caregiver benefits have been paid.
For more information on Supplement to EI maternity, parental, compassionate care and family caregiver benefits, please contact your Service Canada Centre.
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