FOUR THINGS TO KNOW ABOUT BENEFITS

National Post (Latest Edition) - - NEWS -

1 EX­TRA WEEKS

New par­ents will be able to choose be­tween re­ceiv­ing 35 weeks of parental benefits at 55 per cent of their av­er­age weekly earn­ings, up to a max­i­mum of $ 543 per week, or 61 weeks at 33 per cent, up to $ 326 per week. The de­ci­sion must be made upon ap­ply­ing and won’t be avail­able to any­one re­ceiv­ing parental benefits be­fore Dec. 3.

2 WHO IS EL­I­GI­BLE?

A new par­ent needs 600 hours of work in the pre­vi­ous 52 weeks to be el­i­gi­ble for benefits, while self- em­ployed work­ers who have opted in to the EI sys­tem must have earned at least $ 6,888 in the last year.

3 AF­FECTED WORK­PLACES

The rules ap­ply to all fed­er­ally reg­u­lated work­places such as banks, the pub­lic ser­vice and tele­coms, but not to those whose jobs fall un­der provin­cial and ter­ri­to­rial labour laws, about 92 per cent of all work­ers. Prov­inces and ter­ri­to­ries will have to ad­just to the op­tion for ex­tra months of parental leave. Af­fected work­places will have to de­cide whether to amend ex­ist­ing poli­cies to al­low salary top- ups over the en­tire 18 months; union shops will have to re­view col­lec­tive agree­ments.

4 PREG­NANT WORK­ERS

Preg­nant work­ers will also be el­i­gi­ble to start claim­ing their ma­ter­nity benefits up to 12 weeks be­fore the ex­pected birth of their child, up from the cur­rent eight.

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