Income Support Options During COVID Crisis

With all of the closures, quarantines and self-isolation, there is also panic about loss of income.  How can companies support their workers, particularly when the loss of income is not their fault? Fortunately, there are some benefits already available, and more are being announced by the various levels of government.

This blog will talk about Employment Insurance (EI) Benefits: If you are laid off or “separated” from your employment through no fault of your own (you are not fired for “just cause”), you are eligible to apply for EI benefits. Of course, the benefits the employee receives are dependent upon how many eligible hours they have, but the Federal Government has announced increased funding for EI so we will have to wait and see where and how it is allocated. The entire application process is done online.

EI sick/disability benefit provides up to 15 weeks of coverage for anyone who cannot work due to illness or injury that is not covered by WSIB. If you are sick or quarantined, file a claim.

EI Income replacement provides benefits to workers who are off for no fault of their own but are not ill or injured. This benefit may also be applied for in cases of Compassionate Care or other protected unpaid leaves under Employment Standards. This benefit would be available to people laid off due to “proactive” closures, laid off due to work shortage brought about by supply shortages, or losing income because of the general slowdown (retail for example), the person providing care to a family member that becomes critically ill or dies (if a child) from the virus. It could also apply to those who are quarantined but not ill (i.e. spouse has positive test).

EI Work Sharing is a little-known benefit that provides support to persons who are “partially laid off”. If you have a worker who can work from either office or home, but only part of the week, they can claim EI for the part of the week they don’t work. This is one of the funds that the Feds have made increases to. 

Stay tuned for more options on supporting your workers

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