Pandemic HR: EI Related Programs – Work-Sharing, Supplementary Unemployment Benefits, Working while on a Claim

There are several programs through Service Canada available to employers. Some of them I admit I just don’t understand, but here are ones that may be just what you need.

As a reminder, PEI’s minimum wage will increase by 60 cents to $12.85 per hour on April 1, 2020.

Registered Supplementary Unemployment Benefit Plans

A supplementary unemployment benefit plan (SUBP) is a plan established by an employer or group of participating employers to top up employees’ employment insurance (EI) benefits during a period of unemployment due to a temporary or indefinite layoff for:

  • health-related benefits
  • maternity, parental, compassionate care, family caregiver leave
  • sickness, accident, or disability
  • temporary stoppage of work
  • training


Work-Sharing Program – Temporary special measures for the downturn in business due to COVID-19  

The Government of Canada has put in place Work-Sharing (WS) temporary special measures for employers affected by the downturn in business due to COVID-19. Work-Sharing is a three-party agreement between employers, employees, and Service Canada to provide reduced workforces with a sort of subsidy to keep employees employed and paid without further burden on the employer.

Employers are eligible to apply if you are experiencing a downturn in business activity related to the global outbreak of COVID-19. Work-share agreement stipulations:

  • A minimum of two employees are required for a Work-Sharing agreement
  • The average reduction in business activity is no less than 10% and no more than 60%
  • The percentage of possible layoffs if the program is not applied is between 10% and 60% (comparable % to decrease in business activity)

Applications must:

  • be submitted a minimum of 30 days prior to the requested start date (agreements always start on a Sunday)
  • have a recovery plan attached to the application
  • have 100% agreement from all employees in the work unit to participate
  • indicate the average reduction in business activity and a corresponding comparable percentage of anticipated layoffs without a workshare agreement

The number of people in the work-share unit and the amount of money that can be accessed through this program is determined on a case-by-case basis once the application is received. The employee does not experience a break in their employment and there is no waiting period. However, the funding to employers will not be provided until up to 28 days after the application is received.

Click here for the guide where the information is clearly laid out: Work-Sharing Program Applicant Guide


Employment Insurance – Employees Working While on Claim

This is information to share with your employees as it is directed to EI recipients, not employers.

If you earn money while receiving EI benefits, you can keep 50 cents of your benefits for every dollar you earn, up to 90 percent of your previous weekly earnings (roughly four and a half days of work). Above this cap, your EI benefits are deducted dollar-for-dollar. You are not eligible to receive EI benefits if you work a full week, regardless of the amount you earn. However, this will not reduce the total number of weeks payable on your claim.