Did you know that starting December 3, 2017, important improvements to Employment Insurance (EI) special benefits will come into effect? The following changes to maternity, parental and caregiving benefits announced in Budget 2017 will provide parents and family caregivers with EI benefits that are more flexible, inclusive and easier to access:
- A new Family Caregiver benefit for adults of up to 15 weeks will be available for eligible caregivers to provide care to a critically ill or injured adult family member, thus helping more Canadians support loved ones when they need it most.
- The Parents of Critically Ill Children benefit will continue to provide up to 35 weeks of benefits and will be renamed the EI Family Caregiver benefit for children. Eligibility for this benefit is being expanded to a wider support network that includes immediate and extended family members, as well as loved ones considered to be like family.
- Access to EI caregiving benefits will be improved by allowing medical doctors and nurse practitioners to sign medical certificates.
- Parents will be able to choose between standard (taken over 12 months) or extended (taken over 18 months) parental benefits. This will allow them to select the option that best suits their family needs.
- Eligible pregnant workers will be able to receive EI maternity benefits earlier, up to 12 weeks before their due date. This increased flexibility will allow them to better take into account their personal, health and workplace circumstances when choosing when to begin maternity leave.
The changes to EI caregiving benefits will apply to new claims across Canada, while the amendments to maternity and parental benefits offered under the EI program only apply to parents who reside outside Quebec.
These changes will apply to EI-eligible workers as well as self-employed Canadians who voluntarily opt into the EI program for access to EI special benefits.
Employers are encouraged to review the terms of any collective bargaining agreements, employment contracts and benefit plans they hold or administer, to assess any implications the changes may have for their organization and members. For more information, consult the EI – Information for employers page.
To find out more about what these important changes, visit the Employment Insurance Improvements page.