You are likely to be eligible for Employment Insurance (or EI) when your contract expires and if you do not have a new contract in place and are remaining in Canada. Because most postdocs work full-time, you easily meet the hours threshold in place that is needed to qualify for EI.
For more information, please click on this link, which will direct you to our new Employment Insurance pamphlet. Additional information is below.
EI eligibility is based on working a minimum number of hours, and varies from region-to-region and changes from month-to-month based on the Regional Rate of Unemployment. Likewise, the maximum number of weeks that you can collect EI for varies based on the same criteria. The region is based on where you reside, not where you work. Until COVID-19, if you live in Hamilton you would need to have worked at least 700 hours in the past 52 weeks and could collect benefits for a maximum of 36 weeks. For a full list of regions, please click here.
In most cases, this means that only sessionals who have worked the equivalent of three 3.0 credit courses or Post-Doctoral Fellows will be eligible. In most cases, sessionals who have worked less than the equivalent of three 3.0 credit courses, and virtually all TAs, will not have worked enough hours to meet the eligibility requirements. More detailed information about EI eligibility and benefits can be found here.
Following COVID-19, however, you only need 400 insurable hours in the previous 52 weeks to qualify.
The basic rate for calculating EI benefits is 55% of your average insurable weekly earnings. As of January 1, 2021, the maximum yearly insurable earnings amount is $56,300. This means that you can receive a maximum amount of $595 per week
In order for your EI application to be processed, you will need a Record of Employment (or ROE) from McMaster. For both Sessionals and Postdocs, they should be automatically uploaded to Service Canada within seven days after your contract expires. Postdoctoral Fellows who work normal hours are credited with 35 hours of work per week. Postdoctoral Fellows who also work as Unit 2 (Sessional Faculty members) are also credited with 238 hours per 3-unit course on their ROEs.
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