Digest of Benefit Entitlement Principles Chapter 13 - Section 2

13.2.0 Parental benefits as a part of special benefits

Under the EI program, parental benefits (to care for a new born or a child placed for the purpose of adoption), together with maternity benefits, sickness benefits (in case of illness, injury, or quarantine) compassionate care and family caregiver benefits are known collectively as special benefits and as such, have specific requirements for payment Footnote 1 as well as limits to the number of weeks payable.

A qualified claimant may be paid special benefits at any time in the benefit period. To ensure consistency and stability in the payment of special benefits, entitlement is not limited by the unemployment rate, rather the maximum number of weeks for which special benefits may be paid has been set by legislation Footnote 2 . These parameters are explained in the following section.

[ October 2013 ]

[ September 2006 ]

13.2.1 Limits to the number of weeks of special benefits payable

Each type of special benefits has an individual maximum number of weeks that can be paid in one benefit period Footnote 3 . The individual maximums are: 15 weeks for maternity benefits; 35 weeks for standard parental benefits or 61 weeks for extended parental benefits; 15 weeks for sickness benefits, 26 weeks for compassionate care benefits, 35 weeks for family caregiver benefits for children and 15 weeks for family caregiver benefits for adults.

Special benefits may be paid in any combination during a benefit period provided the claimant proves entitlement for each type of benefit.

In cases where extended parental is the only benefit paid on the claim, a 26 week extension of the benefit period will be added to allow for payment of the full entitlement.

A maximum of 102 weeks of combined special benefits can be paid in an extended benefit period Footnote 4 if:

  • No regular benefits have been paid during the initial benefit period; and
  • More than one type of special benefits was paid; and at least one of these special benefits was paid for fewer than the applicable maximum number of weeks payable for these special benefits, and
  • The maximum total number of weeks payable for the types of special benefits requested is greater than 50.

If a specific type of special benefits was not paid during the initial benefit period, it cannot be paid during the extended benefit period.

The initial benefit period ends on the earlier of:

  • When 50 weeks of special benefits have been paid; or
  • Benefit period start date plus 51 weeks plus any weeks of extension due to work-sharing or for one of the following reasons
    1. Confined in a jail, penitentiary or other similar institution and was not found guilty of the offence for which the claimant was being held or any other offence arising out of the same transaction;
    2. In receipt of earnings paid because of the complete severance of their relationship with their former employer;
    3. In receipt of workers’ compensation payments for an illness or injury;
      or
    4. In receipt of payments under a provincial law on the basis of having ceased to work because continuing to work would have resulted in danger to the claimant, her unborn child or a child whom she was breast-feeding.

It is important to note that for the purpose of the extension of the benefit period, when reference is made to “benefits paid for a pregnancy or caring for a child”, this also refers to the provincial benefits that have been paid to the claimant for the same reasons Footnote 5 . This means that Québec Parental Insurance Plan benefits can be used to extend the EI benefit period Footnote 6 to allow the claimant to receive the maximum number of special benefits weeks under the EI Act, other than maternity or parental, to which he/she is entitled.

A claimant who does not qualify for regular benefits under the EI Act Footnote 7 , but qualifies for special benefits because of the regulatory exception Footnote 8 , can only receive special benefits in their benefit period.

The limit to the number of weeks of special benefits payable also includes benefits paid under the Quebec Parental Insurance Plan. According to a specific regulatory provision Footnote 9 , each week of Quebec Parental Insurance Plan benefits paid is considered as a week for which benefits are paid under the EI program, and is taken into consideration in calculating the overall maximum number of weeks of EI maternity or parental benefits to be paid per benefit period, and the maximum number of weeks of EI benefits to be paid regarding a birth or an adoption.

[ October 2013 ]

[ September 2006 ]

13.2.2 Limits to the number of weeks of special and regular benefits payable

A maximum of 50 weeks of benefits at 55% can be paid in the initial benefit period, when regular and special benefits are combined.

Claimants who receive regular benefits and choose to receive extended parental benefits may be paid the equivalent of 50 weeks at the 55% benefit rateFootnote 100 In order to determine when the 50 week cap has been reached, once 50 weeks of benefits have been paid, any weeks of extended parental benefits paid at the 33% benefit rate will have to be converted to the equivalent number of weeks that would have been paid at the 55% benefit rateFootnote 11. This conversion will help determine how many more weeks of regular benefits and special benefits can be paid to reach the equivalent of 50 weeks paid at 55% and what the applicable benefit period extension should be. Any benefit period extensions will be added at week 52 of the claim. As stated in EI Act Section 10(13.02), the extension applied to facilitate the payment of extended parental benefits cannot exceed 26 weeks

The conversion table from extended parental benefits weeks to standard parental benefit weeks is included in Annex 1 Footnote 12. The conversion table from standard parental benefit weeks to extended parental benefit weeks is included in Annex 2.These annexes are found at the end of this chapter.

Only benefit types that were paid in the initial benefit period can be paid in the extension period provided all entitlement conditions are still met Footnote 13.

For the purposes of calculating the cap of 50 weeks, weeks in which the claimant returns to work or does not receive benefits for a reason other than those listed in subsections 10(10) to (12.1) and section 13 of the EI Act, whether during the initial benefit period or extended benefit period, will be deemed to be weeks for which benefits were paid at a weekly benefit rate of 55%. For example: if the claimant returns to work for two weeks during the initial benefit period these two weeks will be weeks deemed paid for the purposes of calculating the cap of 50 weeks paid at 55%. The conversion calculation should occur at the point where the claimant reaches 50 weeks paid or deemed paid on the claim.

As stated above, for the purpose of calculating the cap, we would not include weeks in which the claimant did not receive benefits because the claimant was: Footnote 14

  • Confined in a jail, penitentiary or other similar institution and was not found guilty of the offence for which the claimant was being held or any other offence arising out of the same transaction.
  • In receipt of earnings paid because of the complete severance of their relationship with their former employer.
  • In receipt of workers’ compensation payments for an illness or injury.
  • In receipt of payments under a provincial law on the basis of having ceased to work because continuing to work would have resulted in danger to the claimant, her unborn child or a child whom she was breast-feeding.
  • Serving the waiting period.

Additionally, weeks of extension for the hospitalization of a child or weeks in which members of the Canadian Forces have had to defer their parental leave or end it early to return to active duty, are not included in the calculation of the cap of 50 weeks paid at 55%.

Worksharing weeks are not included in the calculation of the 50 weeks paid at 55% when regular and special benefit, including extended parental benefits, are combined during the initial benefit period.

Example 1:

A claimant becomes ill and receives 10 weeks of sickness benefits. He then applies for extended parental benefits and receives 15 weeks. The claimant is laid off from his employment in week 26 of the claim and applies for regular benefits. After proving his availability for work, the claimant receives 25 weeks of regular benefits up to week 51 of the benefit period. As the claimant received regular benefits and extended parental benefits in the initial benefit period, a conversion calculation must be completed to determine the cap of 50 weeks and the benefit period extension.

At week 51, using the table found in Annex 1, the 15 weeks of extended parental benefits paid in the initial benefit period are converted to 9 weeks of standard parental benefits. In order to determine how many weeks at the 55% benefit rate can still be paid within the 50 week cap, 10 weeks of sickness benefits, 9 weeks of converted parental benefits and 25 weeks of regular benefits must be subtracted from the cap of 50 standard weeks. At week 51 there are 6 weeks of benefits that can still be paid at the 55% benefit rate.

At week 52, the benefit period is extended by 6 weeks to allow the claimant to be paid up to the equivalent of 50 weeks at 55%.

Example 2:

A claimant is laid off from their employment and establishes a claim for regular benefits. After receiving 36 weeks of regular benefits, the claimant converts their claim to extended parental benefits and receives 10 weeks of benefits. The claimant becomes ill and requests 2 weeks of sickness benefits before resuming payment of extended parental benefits. The claimant receives two more weeks of extended parental benefits before 50 weeks of benefits are paid on the claim.

At week 51, using the table found in Annex 1, the 12 weeks of extended parental benefits paid in the initial benefit period are converted to 7 weeks of standard parental benefits. In order to determine how many weeks at the 55% benefit rate can still be paid within the 50 week cap, 36 weeks of rgular benefits, 7 weeks of converted parental benefits and 2 weeks of sickness benefits must be subtracted from the cap of 50 standard weeks. At week 51 there are 5 weeks of benefits that can still be paid at the 55% benefit rate.

As the claimant is being paid extended parental benefits at week 51, it needs to be determined how many weeks of extended parental benefits would be equivalent to five standard weeks of benefits in order to determine the benefit period extension. Using the table found in Annex 2, the 5 standard weeks are converted to 8 weeks of extended parental benefits. The benefit period is extended by 8 weeks to allow for the additional weeks to be paid.

Example 3:

A claimant applies for extended parental benefits and receives 35 weeks of extended parental benefits. She then converts her claim to regular benefits and receives 5 weeks of regular benefits. The claimant then returns to work for 5 weeks at which point she renews her claim for regular benefits. As weeks in which the claimant returns to work are deemed “weeks paid” for the purposes of calculating the 50 week cap, the claimant reaches 50 weeks paid or deemed paid after receiving five more weeks of regular benefits.

At week 51, using the table found in Annex 1, the 35 weeks of extended parental benefits paid in the initial benefit period are converted to 21 weeks standard parental benefits. In order to determine how many weeks at the 55% benefit rate can still be paid within the 50 week cap, 21 weeks of converted parental benefits, 10 weeks of regular benefits and 5 weeks during which the claimant returned to work must be subtracted from the cap of 50 standard weeks. At week 51 there are 14 weeks of benefits that can still be paid at the 55% benefit rate. A 14 week extension will be added to the claim at week 52 to allow for the additional weeks to be paid.

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