The federal government is backtracking on changes to employment insurance, and essentially admitting a pilot project in place this summer would actually discourage people on claim from looking for work.
In a news release sent out after 5 p.m. Friday, Oct. 5, Human Resources Minister Diane Finley announced the government would be making changes to the ‘Working While on Claim’ program.
Ms. Finley said “Concerns have been raised regarding the new EI Working While on Claim pilot project. We have listened to those concerns and today I am announcing our intent to make adjustments to the new pilot program.”
Those concerns came in the form of a steady drumbeat of criticism from opposition MPs in recent months.
Under the old system, workers working on claim would get EI payments clawed back after they earned more than $75 or 40 per cent of their total payment – whichever was more.
Under the new system, introduced this summer, workers would only get 50 per cent of earnings clawed back, but it started with the first dollar earned.
In many cases, this meant if a worker was only taking a small amount of work, or a low paying position, they would get more money by not working.
The latest change takes effect in January, and workers will have to decide whether they want to be governed by the old rules or the new rules.
If they opt for the old system and they worked this summer, they may be entitled to receive retroactive pay.