EI premium reduction guide Chapter 1: General information about the Employment Insurance premium reduction
Why Service Canada offers the Employment Insurance premium reduction
In addition to regular Employment Insurance (EI) benefits, the Government of Canada's EI program provides special benefits to employees who are not working because of:
- illness, injury, or quarantine
- pregnancy or the need to care for a newborn or newly adopted child or
- the need to provide care or support to a critically ill family member or to a critically ill child
When you offer similar income-protection coverage to your employees through a short-term disability plan, they may not have to collect EI benefits, or they may collect them for a shorter time. In this way, your short-term disability plan can reduce the demands made on the EI program. For this reason, Service Canada offers the EI Premium Reduction Program to return the savings to both you and your employees.
EI premiums are paid by employers and employees at a ratio of 7/12 and 5/12 respectively of the total EI premium payable. The EI Premium Reduction Program offers savings to both the employer and the employees using these same ratios. For administrative reasons, we only reduce the employer's EI premium rate; this reduction includes both portions of the savings. For this reason, it is the employer's responsibility to ensure that all employees for whom the reduction applies receive their portion of the savings (5/12 of the savings).
Types of short-term disability plans that are considered qualifying plans
There are 2 types of short-term disability plans that could be considered as qualifying plans for an EI premium reduction.
Weekly indemnity plans
These short-term disability plans pay weekly disability benefits to employees when they are ill or injured. The disability coverage can be set up through a self-insured plan (by either the employer or a group representing the employees) or it can be set up through a third-party plan (underwritten by an insurance carrier or a plan administrator). The employer, the employees, or both the employer and the employees can pay the cost of the plan.
Cumulative paid sick leave plans
With these self-insured short-term disability plans, employees accumulate sick leave credits that they can use when they are ill or injured. Some plans may also allow employees to use paid sick leave credits while they remain at home because of pregnancy, to care for a newborn or newly adopted child, or to care for a gravely ill family member or a critically ill child.
Requirements that your plan must meet
Your short-term disability plan must meet the requirements that are listed in Annex 1 of this guide.
How much you can save with the EI premium reduction
If you are granted an EI premium reduction, you will calculate your EI premiums using a rate that is lower than the standard employer rate of 1.4 times the employees' EI premiums. The amount saved is the difference between what would have been paid at the standard rate and what is now payable at the reduced rate.
For example, in 2023, the total yearly savings per employee could be as much as $237.58 (for employers who offer a weekly indemnity plan with a maximum benefit period of at least 15 weeks). This calculation is based on an employee who earned $61,500, which is the yearly maximum insurable earnings for 2023.
The portion of the savings returned to the employee in this example would be $98.99 (5/12 of the $237.58). As the employer, your portion of the savings would be $138.59 (7/12 of $237.58).
The amount you and your employees can save depends on the type of short-term disability plan you offer to your employees and the employees' insurable earnings.
Reduced employer EI premium rates
In the legislation, there are 4 different categories of plans that may qualify for a reduction:
Category 1: a cumulative paid sick leave plan, which allows for a minimum monthly accumulation of 1 day and a total accumulation of at least 75 days.
Category 2: an enhanced cumulative paid sick leave plan, which allows for a minimum monthly accumulation of 1 2/3 days and a total accumulation of at least 125 days.
Category 3: a weekly indemnity plan with a benefit period of at least 15 weeks.
Category 4: a special weekly indemnity plan with a benefit period of at least 52 weeks. (This reduction is available only to public and para-public employers of a province.)
We will assign you a reduction depending on which category your short-term disability plan falls under.
Your reduced EI premium rate will be expressed as a multiple of the employee premiums payable - that is, a premium rate that is less than 1.4 times the employee premiums payable (for example, 1.163).
Your EI reduction will also be expressed in cents per $100 of insurable earnings. For example, the premium reduction could be .36 cents ($0.36) for every $100 of insured earnings.
For the reduced employer EI premium rates currently in effect, please refer to this "Rates and multiples" page.
If you are an employer who deducts QPIP premiums from the salaries of some of your employees, and you also have other employees who are reported under the same payroll deductions account but are not subject to these premiums, your reduced rate will be calculated based on the percentage of your employees who pay QPIP premiums. The Program will determine these rates adjustments.
The legislative references relating to the Premium Reduction Program are as follows:
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