Human Resources Legislative Update
Federal Government Waives EI Waiting Periods for Workers Affected by COVID-19
Date: March 11, 2020
On March 11, 2020, the federal government announced the establishment of a $1 billion COVID-19 Response Fund.
As part of this initiative, the government will be waiving the mandatory one-week waiting period for Employment Insurance (EI) sickness benefits for those workers who are in quarantine or who have been directed to self-isolate as a result of the COVID-19. The announcement did not specify what evidence will be necessary in order to qualify for the waiver, and appears not to cover voluntary self-isolation.
Among other things, additional initiatives include:
- enhancements to the Work-Sharing program for applicable employers and workers by extending the period during which the program can be used from 38 weeks to 76 weeks
- increased funding to the Public Health Agency of Canada to support its COVID-19 communication and public education initiatives
- funding to the provinces and territories for their critical care health care systems and mitigation efforts
- funding for federal public health countermeasures, research initiatives, ongoing support for preparedness for First Nations and Inuit communities
- ensuring adequate supplies of personal protective equipment.
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