Digest of Benefit Entitlement Principles Chapter 1 - Section 8

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1.8.0 Waiting period

The waiting period is a one-week period for which no benefit is paid to the claimant Footnote 1 . This provision can be likened to the deductible clause in fire and automobile insurance policies under which the insured person is expected to share a part of the damages or loss.

1.8.1 Application

A claimant is generally not entitled to be paid benefits in a benefit period until a one-week waiting period has been served Footnote 2 . During this period, benefits are not paid and claimants are expected to meet the entitlement conditions given the specific type of benefits requested.

There are two exceptions to the above rule. The first relates to waiving the waiting period. A waiting period is may be waived, if it is to the claimant’s advantage, to the extent that it need not be served. This is applicable to claims where a claimant was paid sick leave pay immediately following their cessation from work with one of their employers and experienced an interruption of earnings from that same employer Footnote 3 .

A regulation introduced on January 1, 2006 Footnote 4 , in the context of the implementation of the Quebec Parental Insurance Plan (QPIP) Footnote 5 authorizes a waiting period to be waived where benefits have been paid under a provincial plan such as QPIP. (Despite the fact that a waiting period may be waived in this circumstance, it does not afford the claimant more benefits. Rather, EI benefits will be payable from the start date of the claim.)

The second exception relates to having one’s waiting period deferred. Deferral of a waiting period is appropriate when more than one claimant is claiming parental, compassionate care or family caregiver benefits in respect of the same family member. One waiting period must be served between claimants, which will occur on the first claim established (by a parent, adoptive parent or family member, as the case may be). The second claimant requesting benefits in a shared benefits situation need not serve the waiting period in order to receive those specific benefits, as it will be deferred Footnote 6 . However, once entitlement to those benefits ceases and in the event that a different benefit type is claimed, the waiting period would then have to be served.

This is the case as well for work sharing benefits. Deferral of the waiting period or its unserved portion will occur in the event of a work-sharing claim. However, if other benefits are claimed once the work sharing agreement is terminated, the one-week waiting period must then be served Footnote 7 .

In the event that the waiting period was waived for the first claimant (parent or adoptive parent for parental benefits Footnote 8 ; family member, as is the case for family caregiver benefits Footnote 9 ; or compassionate care benefits Footnote 10 ) , the second claimant would be required to serve the waiting period because a waiting period was not previously served in respect of the same child or ill family member. The only exception to this would be in a situation where the second parent also received sick leave pay from their employer after ceasing work, thus meeting the conditions to waive their waiting period as well.

Specific details on these benefits as well as the relevant waiting period criteria may be found in this document in chapters devoted to types of benefits available under the EI program.

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[ September 2006 ]

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1.8.2 Commencement of waiting period

The waiting period almost always occurs at the very beginning of the benefit period. It must begin with the first week for which benefits would otherwise be payable to the claimant Footnote 11 .

Even in the absence of a waiting period, there may be cases where benefits would not otherwise be payable for the first week in a benefit period, such as when a disentitlement is imposed for the first full week. The commencement of the waiting period will be delayed for as long as the disentitlement exists Footnote 12 until the following week or if necessary until the first week for which benefits would be payable, had there not been a waiting period.

Similarly, there are cases where earnings allocated to the first weeks in a benefit period are greater than the benefit rate; here again the commencement of the waiting period is in effect deferred. This occurs when the amount allocated to a relevant week is equal to or greater than 125% of the benefit rate Footnote 13 .

In the case of sickness, maternity, parental, compassionate care and/or family caregiver benefits, the rules are somewhat different. Sickness, maternity, parental, compassionate care and family caregiver benefits will be discussed in separate chapters.

It should be noted that a disqualification has no effect on the waiting period; the disqualification can be served only after the waiting period is over Footnote 14 .

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1.8.3 Effect of waiting period

Monies considered as earnings and allocated, as such to the waiting period have no effect on the waiting period itself but rather on the weeks following it Footnote 15 . This applies also for any days of disentitlement that fall the waiting period Footnote 16 , or a combination of the two.

Specifically, the effect is on the first three weeks for which benefit is otherwise payable following the waiting period. Note that these three weeks need not be consecutive; nor do they have to immediately follow the waiting period. Once these three weeks have elapsed, there is no further effect from the waiting period on the payment of benefits.

1.8.4 Days of disentitlement

A deduction amounting to one-fifth of the benefit rate will be made for each working day of disentitlement that falls within the waiting period Footnote 17 . This deduction is subject to the rules discussed under the preceding heading "Effect of Waiting Period" and to the definition of a working day Footnote 18 .

1.8.5 Earnings in waiting period

Earnings allocated to the waiting period result in a dollar for dollar deduction Footnote 19 to a maximum allocation equal to the rate of benefit Footnote 20 . Therefore, the maximum deduction for the waiting period is the weekly rate of benefit. Further, this deduction is subject to the rules discussed under the heading "Effect of Waiting Period".

Earnings and days of disentitlement may have to be deducted at the same time. Here again, the maximum deduction for the waiting period must not exceed the benefit rate.

As an exception for a claimant employed under a work sharing agreement, the effect of the waiting period is not immediate where the deduction to be made arises out of earnings received; rather, the applicable deduction is deferred until the end of the agreement Footnote 21 .

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