Effective Jan. 1, 2017, the waiting period (unpaid) for Employment Insurance (EI) benefits has been reduced from two weeks to one week. The reduction in the waiting period applies to regular (unemployment) benefits, and special benefits for maternity, parental, adoption and compassionate care leaves.
The following explains the impact to maternity, parental and adoption EI benefits and the University’s Supplemental Employment Benefits (SEB) Program:
Maternity, Parental and Adoption Leave and EI benefits
There will be no change to the number of weeks of unpaid leave or length of time EI benefits are payable.
The number of weeks of unpaid leave remains at:
52 weeks for birth mothers (17 weeks maternity plus 35 weeks parental)
37 weeks for birth fathers/adopting parents
The length of time EI benefits are payable, after serving the one-week waiting period, continues to be:
50 weeks for birth mothers (15 weeks maternity plus 35 weeks parental)
35 weeks for birth fathers/adopting parents (no waiting period is required if birth mother or one adopting parent has already served it)
Supplemental Employment Benefits (SEB) Program
The reduction in the waiting period to one week will impact the Supplemental Employment Insurance (SEB) Top-Up benefit programs at UBC. The changes are outline below and will apply to employees with leaves staring on or after Jan. 1, 2017.
Reducing the EI waiting period to one week will change:
1) How SEB benefits are calculated in Week Two:
Employee will receive 95% of salary from UBC. This will be in addition to their EI weekly benefit.
2) Reduce the total number of weeks payable under SEB by one week. Using a birth mother who is in the CUPE 2950 employment group as an example:
Prior to Jan. 1, 2017: CUPE 2950 birth mother received 17 weeks under SEB: 95% of salary for two-week waiting period plus topping up EI benefit for 15 weeks
Jan. 1, 2017 onwards: CUPE 2950 employee will receive 16 weeks under SEB: 95% of salary for one-week waiting period, 95% of salary plus EI for second week, and topping up EI to 95% of salary for 14 weeks.
Prior to Jan. 1, UBC accounted for the second week of the unpaid waiting period; now that the second week is eliminated the SEB is reduced by one week.
There will be no change to how paid leave benefits are calculated for Postdoctoral Fellow Award Recipients.
This arrangement will be in place from Jan. 1, 2017, to Jan. 2, 2021. During this four-year period, the University will work with the Unions/Associations to make any necessary collective agreement changes to the SEB program to align with changes to the Federal EI program.