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Can I Get EI If My Hours of Work Are Reduced?

The COVID-19 pandemic has affected our lives in several ways – from limited in-store shopping, to cancelled events and gatherings, to outright job loss and business closures. The financial strains caused by the pandemic are being felt by employers and employees alike across the country, causing some employees to turn to employment insurance (EI).

Since the beginning of the pandemic, both federal and provincial governments have implemented measures aimed at curtailing some of these financial strains, in hope of keeping Canadians and Ontarians safe, while at the same time providing financial support.

Can I Get EI If My Hours of Work Are Reduced?

Some employees are being dismissed, and others are seeing a reduction in their hours of work. Employees finding themselves in the latter scenario may be wondering – can I get EI if my hours of work are reduced?

Unfortunately, you do not qualify for EI regular benefits unless you had to completely stop working. In fact, employees who apply for EI regular benefits must be without work for at least seven consecutive days in the 52 weeks prior to applying, in order to qualify for EI. In addition, employees must be actively seeking new employment opportunities, and must be ready, willing and capable of working.

For employees who are sick, have to quarantine, or have to care of a child or family member with a serious medical condition, you may be able to apply for EI sickness benefits if your income goes down by at least 40%. The amount of EI you will receive may depend on:

  • The number of hours you worked in the year before you apply
  • The unemployment rate in the region where you live at the time you apply

Employees should also be mindful that the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB), ended on December 2, 2020. In its place, the Government of Canada implemented the Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB), which is for individuals who do not qualify for EI.

Related Topics

What Happens to Employment Insurance When You Quit?

Can Employers Change Job Duties in the Workplace?

Stress Leave and Mental Health in Ontario: Your Rights

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