EI Benefits During COVID-19 – CLEO

Because of COVID-19, there have been big changes to EI related to hours of insurable work and minimum payments. These changes are temporary.
If you don’t qualify for EI, you can apply for one of the new COVID-19 Recovery Benefits instead.
For more information about all COVID-19 benefits, visit https://stepstojustice.ca/covid-19

Reviewed: June 7, 2021

Employment Insurance (EI) To qualify for any Employment Insurance (EI) program, you must have worked enough “insurable hours” in your qualifying period.
Your qualifying period is normally the 52 weeks before you apply.
Type of EI benefits Who’s eligible Amount and how to apply Notes
EI regular benefits
  • you lost your job through no fault of your own
  • you have at least 120 insurable hours (1)
  • you’re ready, willing, and able to accept work
  • you’re actively looking for work
  • you’ve been without work or income for 7 days
  • 55% of your weekly income up to $595 a week
  • new minimum amount of $500 a week
  • lasts up to 50 weeks
  1. The new rules require 420 insurable hours but give you a “one-time” bonus of 300 hours.
EI sickness benefits
  • you have at least 120 insurable hours (1)
  • your weekly earnings went down by more than 40%
  • you’re not able to work because you’re sick, injured, or in quarantine
  • 55% of your weekly income up to $595 a week
  • new minimum amount of $500 a week
  • lasts up to 15 weeks
  1. The new rules require 600 insurable hours but give you a “one-time” bonus of 480 hours.
EI caregiving benefits
  • you have at least 120 insurable hours (1)
  • you must be caring for a person who’s critically ill, injured, or needs end-of-life care
  • you’re caring for someone you consider to be like family
  • the person must be certified critically ill or in need of end-of-life care (2)
  • 55% of your weekly income up to $595 a week
  • new minimum amount of $500 a week
  • lasts up to 15 weeks if the sick person is over 18
  • lasts up to 35 weeks if the sick person is under 18
  • lasts up to 26 weeks if the sick person needs end-of-life care
  1. The new rules require 600 insurable hours but give you a “one-time” bonus of 480 hours.
  2. This can be done by a doctor or a nurse practitioner.
EI maternity benefits
  • you have at least 120 insurable hours (1)
  • you’re pregnant or recently gave birth (2)
  • your weekly earnings went down by more than 40%
  • 55% of your weekly income up to $595 a week
  • new minimum amount of $500 a week
  • lasts up to 15 weeks
  1. The new rules require 600 insurable hours but give you a “one-time” bonus of 480 hours.
  2. You can start 12 weeks before your due date or the day you give birth. You can get the benefits for up to 17 weeks after you give birth.
EI parental benefits
  • you have at least 120 insurable hours (1)
  • you recently had a child or recently adopted a child (2)
  • you and the other parent are both eligible (3)
  • your weekly earnings went down by more than 40%
Standard benefits (35 weeks):
  • 55% of your weekly income up to $595 a week
  • new minimum amount of $500 a week
Extended benefits (61 weeks):
  • 33% of your weekly income up to $357 a week
  • new minimum amount of $300 a week
  1. The new rules require 600 insurable hours but give you a “one-time” bonus of 480 hours.
  2. You must use the standard leave within 52 weeks of your child’s birth or adoption, or within 78 weeks if you take an extended leave.
  3. Both parents must share the weeks of eligibility.

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