Employment Insurance Maternity Benefits
Important changes to Employment Insurance maternity benefits: Service Canada introduces a temporary waiver program for the one-week waiting period
When you make a claim for Employment Insurance (EI) maternity benefits, there is normally a one-week period for which you are not paid. This is called the waiting period. It is like the deductible for other types of insurance.
Temporarily waiving the waiting period is intended to enable individuals to be paid for the first week of unemployment and enhance income support to Canadians during the pandemic.
School divisions, however, provide full pay to teachers during the one-week period so that new mothers who select a standard maternity and parental EI benefit would receive a full week of pay from the employer during the one-week waiting period; they would then receive 15 weeks of maternity benefit and 35 weeks of parental benefit.
With the introduction of this temporary waiver program, every teacher who establishes an initial claim for EI maternity benefits between January 31 and September 25, 2021, will have their one-week waiting period waived automatically when their claim is processed.
While waiving the waiting period will not affect the maximum number of weeks of EI benefits that you may receive, this could affect your employer-provided supplemental benefit plan. School divisions provide a top-up during periods of maternity leave in accordance with your individual collective agreements. Service Canada is supposed to ensure that this is taken into consideration when determining whether you should serve the waiting period.
This automatic consideration will only occur if the Record of Employment (ROE) submitted by the employer records that you are receiving full pay for the week after you start your maternity leave.
If Service Canada does not automatically account for the one week of pay from the employer and waives the waiting period, then you must call Service Canada at 1-800-206-7218 and explain that the waiver does not benefit you. You must ask that Service Canada apply consideration to determine that you should serve the waiting period and not be subject to the waiver. Remember that this only applies if you establish an initial claim for EI maternity benefits between January 31 and September 25, 2021.
Why is this change being implemented now? In recent weeks, Canada has experienced an increase in COVID-19 infections. The resulting imposition of public health measures is increasing financial pressure on workers. Waiving the waiting period will enable individuals to be paid for the first week of unemployment.
Service Canada has introduced changes to the waiting period of Employment Insurance benefits. If teachers are not exempted from the waiver, they could lose one week of income support as the number of weeks of EI benefits will not change as a result of the temporary waiver program. To speak about your individual claim, call Service Canada at 1-800-206-7218.