Changes to Employment Insurance
The employment insurance system has been amended as of September 26, 2021. Many of the key changes will apply only to new claims made for benefits beginning September 26, 2021 and are still pandemic related.
Teachers applying for employment insurance (EI) will need to have worked a minimum number of hours to qualify for benefits. Previously, teachers needed 600 hours to qualify for maternity or parental benefits; if they applied for regular benefits, the number of insurable hours required to qualify varied in different parts of the province, based on local labour market conditions.
Over the last year, all new EI applicants received a one-time hours top-up to help them qualify, but this requirement has been amended. As a result, teachers will need to have accumulated 420 hours of insurable employment during their qualifying period to be eligible for EI benefits until September 24, 2022.
Further, to access EI sickness benefits, teachers will now be required to submit a medical certificate proving they are ill and unable to work. The requirement was waived temporarily over the last year because of COVID-19.
Maternity and Parental Benefits
Employment Insurance maternity and parental benefits entitle teachers to receive 55 per cent of their earnings, to a maximum of $595 per week. If a teacher’s claim starts between September 26, 2021 and November 20, 2021, the teacher will receive at least $300 per week before taxes, but could receive more. For extended parental benefits, teachers will receive at least $180 per week before taxes, but could also receive more. The weekly floor is planned to apply to claims made between September 26 and November 20.
No one with an existing EI claim will experience any changes to the value or duration of their benefits under these new rules.
Recent changes to Employment Insurance will affect Alberta teachers as of September 26, 2021. Teachers willneed to have accumulated 420 hours of insurable employment during their qualifying period to be eligible for EI benefits until September 24, 2022. #WEAREATA