FOUR THINGS TO KNOW ABOUT BENEFITS
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.