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Can Employees Get EI If They Quit?

Work from home has triggered many questions for employers and employees – including the management of those employees. With less structure to work and workplaces requiring masks and vaccines, some employees are feeling overwhelmed, or bullied and harassed enough to feel like they want to quit or resign. A common question we receive is, can employees get EI if they quit?

If employees quit or resign, they will risk losing out on Employment Insurance (EI) benefits.

What are Employment Insurance (EI) benefits?

EI benefits are payments that employees are entitled to, after contributing to the program from their paychecks, and after they lose their job through no fault of their own. If employees quit voluntarily simply because they want to go back to school, this may disentitle them from receiving EI benefits, for example. The first step in determining eligibility is, what does the Record of Employment say?

What is Record of Employment (ROE)?

Upon the end of employment of an employee, an employer must submit a Record of Employment (ROE) to Service Canada outlining various details, including the date of hire, numbers of hours, and the reason for the end of employment.

If employees quit, they are risking their employer outlining in their ROE that they in fact resigned without further explanation. Based on this, employees may not be able to receive those EI benefits. Without explaining the circumstances of the end of employment or resignation, employers may be signaling to EI that the employee voluntarily quit and not because they were forced to quit. If Service Canada agrees that the employee quit voluntarily, they will not get those EI benefits. For that reason, it is extremely important to avoid resigning without consulting with a lawyer first about how to resign while still being able to claim EI entitlements.

Voluntary Resignation vs Involuntary Resignation

Not all resignations are equal. It is important for employees to make sure that the employer knows the resignation is involuntary – and that they have no options. This is difficult to prove, so employees must avoid resigning without documenting, with a lawyer, the circumstances that led to the resignation, the requirement to be compensated. When a lawyer proves that the resignation was involuntary, then employees are able to claim termination and severance pay, as well as receive EI entitlements for their period of unemployment.

What Happens if Record of Employment says “Quit”?

Service Canada may render employees ineligible to receive EI. This means after many years of work, the employer may indicate on the ROE that the employee is not entitled to EI. This is problematic because employees contribute to EI programs in order to receive the benefits and may be disentitled to it even though they may have been forced to quit.

What Can Employees Do?

Employees should avoid resigning or quitting or else they could risk losing their entitlements. After contributing for years towards an EI program, it would be unfair to be forced to quit without being able to be compensated or receive benefits available to you.

Employees should hire a lawyer, before and without resigning – this is important because not only an employment lawyer can get termination and severance pay for bullying and harassment, but can also require the employer to correct the Record of Employment to allow the employee to receive EI benefits.

What Can Employers Do?

Before employees quit, employers must do everything they can to make sure they have not bullied, harassed, or changed the terms of agreement with the employee. If an employee threatens to quit, make sure you have an employment lawyer ready to address the concerns, and fix them, in order to avoid constructive dismissal claims should the employee quit. If employees quit involuntary, they can claim they have been constructively dismissed and demand compensation as though they were truly terminated. Be careful not to engage with conversation if you are unsure about the intentions of the employees and contact us for help.

Contact Us

If you are an employer who needs assistance dealing with resignation or a constructive dismissal claim, or an employee who believes you’ve been constructively dismissed, our team of experienced workplace lawyers at Achkar Law can help. Contact us by phone toll-free at +1 (800) 771-7882 or email us at [email protected] and we would be happy to assist.

If you are a small or medium-sized company looking for full-service support with a same-day response, visit our CLO Program page for our strategic solutions.

Disclaimer: This blog is not intended to serve as or should be construed as legal advice and is only to provide general information. It is in no way particular to your case and should not be relied on in any way. No portion or use of this blog will establish a lawyer-client relationship with the author or any related party. Should you require legal advice for your particular situation, fill out the contact form, call (800) 771-7882 or email [email protected]