Supplementing maternity, parental, compassionate care or family caregiver benefits

What's new for 2017:

Effective December 3, 2017, improvements are made to the EI Program, as outlined below, 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 will have access to a new benefit of up to 15 weeks.
  • Immediate and extended family members of children who are critically ill will, for the first time, have access to a new benefit that was previously available only to parents. It will replace the Parents of Critically Ill Children benefit and continue to provide up to 35 weeks of benefits.
  • Parents will be able to 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 benefits 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.
      • Claimants can choose to claim extended parental benefits only if their child was born or placed with them for the purpose of adoption on or after December 3, 2017.
  • Eligible pregnant workers will be able to receive EI maternity benefits earlier, up to 12 weeks before their due date.

Note

This section is applicable to employers who provide top-ups to maternity, parental (including adoption) compassionate care or family caregiver benefits. These plans do not have to be registered with Service Canada.

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.

Overview

Employers can offer supplemental payments to maternity, parental (including adoption), compassionate care or family caregiver benefits for their employees.

The top-up amounts are not considered as earnings and are not deducted from the employees’ EI benefits when certain requirements are met.

Requirements that must be met

The supplement is not deducted from the employees’ EI benefits if the plan meets the following two 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; and
  • The payment is not used to reduce other accumulated employment benefits such as banked sick leave, vacation leave credits, or severance pay.

The supplement can be paid during the EI waiting period* without affecting the start of the EI benefits.

*Note:

With the reduction of the EI waiting period, effective January 1, 2017, some EI claimants may receive payments under an employer supplementary benefit plan and EI benefits that, when combined, exceed the allowable limit (100% of employee's normal weekly earnings) in the week following the waiting period. In these instances, EI claimants covered by these plans would have EI benefits reduced for that week.

To mitigate the potential impact on employees and employers in these circumstances a four-year (January 1, 2017 to January 2, 2021) transitional provision was added in the EI Regulations that increases the allowable limit in the week following the waiting period.

This provides affected employers with a period time to adjust their plans to a one-week waiting period. For employees, this prevents their EI benefits from being reduced in the week following the waiting period during the transitional period.

Is registration of the plan required?

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 two conditions previously mentioned.

Information for employees

The employee who will receive a supplement will have to indicate it in his 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 his EI benefits.

Note:

As a result of the Employment Insurance (EI) waiting period being reduced from two weeks to one week effective January 1, 2017, and depending on the wording of employer plans, some employees may be at risk of receiving one less week of employer benefits.

Example: Employer supplements EI benefits during maternity/parental leave and also pays supplement while the employee is serving the EI waiting period. Claimant receives 50 weeks of maternity/parental benefits:

Prior to January 1, 2017
EI waiting period was 2 weeks Supplements payable during 2 week waiting period


2 weeks
Supplements payable while EI maternity (15 weeks) and standard parental benefits (35 weeks) are payable


50 weeks
Total number of weeks where supplement was payable


52 weeks
Effective January 1, 2017
EI waiting period is 1 week Supplement payable during 1 week waiting period


1 week
Supplements payable while EI maternity (15 weeks) and standard parental benefits (35 weeks) are payable


50 weeks
Total number of weeks where supplement was payable


51 weeks
(if no employer benefits payable in week 52)

Additional requirements

AdditionalAdditional requirements may be added to the employer’s plan providing it does not affect the two specific conditions. For example, the plan may require that the employee return to work for the employer for a period of at least six months after the maternity, parental, compassionate care or family caregiver benefits have been paid.

How to contact us?

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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