By Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator, Monday May 28, 2012
EI Reform Arrives
Proposed changes to Employment Insurance will divide claimants into three categories:
• Long-tenured workers who have paid into the EI system for the past seven of 10 years and who, over the last five years, have collected EI or fishing benefits for 35 weeks or less.
• Frequent claimants who have had three or more claims for regular or fishing benefits and collected benefits for a total of more than 60 weeks in the past five years.
• Occasional claimants would be all other claimants.
The changes will hit each group separately. Long-tenured workers will be given more time to find a job in their usual occupation and at a similar wage (starting at 90 per cent of previous hourly wage.) After 18 weeks on EI benefits, long-tenured workers would be required to expand their search to jobs similar to the one they normally perform and to accept wages starting at 80 per cent of their previous hourly wage.
Frequent claimants would be required to expand their job search to jobs similar to the one they normally perform at the onset of their EI claim (one to six weeks) and accept wages starting at 80 per cent of their previous hourly wage. After receiving benefits for seven weeks, they would be required to accept any work they are qualified to perform (with training, if required) and to accept wages starting at 70 per cent of their previous hourly wage.
Occasional claimants could limit their job search to their usual occupation and wage (at least 90 per cent of previous hourly wage) for the first six weeks of their claim. After that, they would be required to expand their search to jobs similar to the work they normally perform with wages at 80 per cent of previous earnings. (Source: Toronto Star)