People on pogey and working will keep more: Finley
Human Resources Minister Diane Finley announces tweaks to the federal Employment Insurance program at Preston Hardware in Ottawa, Thursday, Aug. 2, 2012. (TONY SPEARS/QMI AGENCY)
OTTAWA — People on employment insurance will get to keep more cash if they’re also working, the federal human resources minister said Thursday.
Diane Finley announced tweaks to the employment insurance program amid the bathroom fixtures at an Ottawa hardware store.
Under the two-year, $74-million pilot project, people working while collecting EI won’t see as much of their benefits clawed back.
“(Employment insurance) is not meant to replace wages for people who choose not to work,” Finley said. “And it’s certainly not intended to discourage people from trying to get back into the job market.”
Under the old regime, EI benefits were clawed back dollar-for-dollar on amounts earned above a certain threshhold.
Starting Sunday, benefits will instead be reduced by 50% of workers’ employment earnings.
Scenarios gamed out by the ministry suggest the changes will financially benefit those who supplement EI money with work.
For instance, someone collecting $450 per week in benefits who then found part-time work that pays $600 per week would have pocketed $630 under the old system. With the change, that person will collect $750 per week.
“It should always pay to work,” Finley said. “This change allows EI claimants to keep more of what they earn and it encourages them to stay in the job market.
“Those who stay active in and who remain connected to the labour market find permanent employment faster.”