Please see the below message from our K-12 Coordinators.
We are receiving numerous reports of statements being made by EI regarding benefit eligibility.
EI is provided by the Federal Government through Service Canada. As such they determine eligibility in accordance with their policy and regulations. As a federally administered body getting straight forward answers to questions is no simple task.
Both CUPE and BCPSEA have been working to resolve any concerns that have arisen and to get clear information from Service Canada as to the implications of the Employee Support Grant (ESG) on EI claims. We have also sought guidance on the impacts of the BCTF pickets on EI eligibility.
Firstly, all members should understand that we are not on strike and cannot control how the BCTF picket. Those pickets have impacts on our members. If we were controlling them we may or may not do things differently – but we are not controlling those pickets. In addition, we cannot control how Service Canada decides members’ EI claims. Any such decisions are subject to appeal and if that becomes commonplace we will provide whatever assistance we can for members with EI appeals.
All members should also understand that some members will be inconvenienced and/or suffer financially from honouring BCTF picket lines. That is the price of solidarity; of honouring BC Fed picket policies; of standing strong and proud with CUPE and the House of Labour. We will not be able to mitigate or deal with every single negative effect. It’s a strike.
Having said that, here is the latest (last Friday) information we have from Service Canada:
• EI has asked that all employees either on strike or not crossing picket lines be marked with a “K” for other.
• Payroll people have been advised, they should also include a list of those individuals (i.e. 10 month employees) that would normally be laid off at the end of June. This should result in those employees being entitled to EI as per normal
• A “K” automatically results in the payroll people getting a call from EI. Again they will inform EI of the individuals that are laid off at the end of June
• EI has not made a ruling on the ESG and how it impacts EI.
We think it is fair to assume that the worst case scenario for an EI claim is that the two week period in which you receive your ESG payment could be reduced by the amount of the ESG. In that case you would be receiving a payment equal to 100% of your lost wages, which would reduce your 55% payment of lost wages for that two week period.
We do know that if a member is laid off and chooses to support the BCTF pickets lines while laid off they will not be eligible for EI benefits.
Our best advice for members is to seek guidance from Service Canada when filing a claim and to follow that guidance.
Hopefully this is of some assistance to you. We will report and additional information new received when we get it.
Rob Hewitt & John Horsfield
CUPE K-12 Coordinators