Back in 2017 the waiting period for EI was shortened from two weeks to one week. There was no change to the claim duration.
What did this mean for short and long term disability benefit plans? For short, employers participating in the ei reduction program just needed to make sure their waiting period was still in line. For LTD it meant plans with a 120 day waiting period would have a week long gap between ei ending and Ltd beginning.
Many employers did not reduce the waiting period to realign with EI and employees still have a gap week with no income. And we still commonly quote 120 day waiting periods.
This does shift some cost to the employee.
Today Bill C-30 is proposing more changes to EI that will impact the Disability benefit. This time the claim duration is being impacted. The plan is to increase the duration for sickness benefits from 15 weeks to 26 weeks.
There is currently NO go date for this update. And the government has not shared how this will affect the ei reduction program.
What should you do? This is a good time to start planning so you’re ready when the changes do (if ever) go into effect. Will you want to update your disability plans to align with EI? What is the impact to individuals from a claiming and cost perspective? Will long term disability plans begin to separate sickness and injury?
What scenarios need to be thought through with this possible change?