EI Maternity and Parental Benefits for the Self-Employed
If you are self-employed, you may be eligible for maternity and parental benefits through EI special benefits!
You are eligible to register for EI special benefits if:
- You operate your own business, or you cannot access EI benefits due to owning more than 40% of the voting shares of the corporation
- You are either a Canadian citizen or a permanent resident of Canada
- You have reduced your work by more than 40%
- You have earned a minimum specified amount in the prior calendar year
If you meet the above criteria, you can register online on your My Service Canada Account. There is a 12-month waiting period from the date of confirmed registration before you can apply for EI benefits, so ensure you take this into consideration.
EI premiums are calculated based on your income tax return for that year. For example, if you apply in 2019, your premiums will be based on your 2018 tax return.
For every $100 earned, you must contribute $1.62. The maximum contribution is based on maximum yearly insurable earnings. For 2019, this amount is $53,100, resulting in a maximum premium of $860.22 as you will not be required to pay the employer portion.
The maternity benefit can be claimed for a maximum of 15 weeks and can be paid as early as 12 weeks before the expected date of birth and end as late as 17 weeks after the actual date of birth. This benefit will be 55% of your average weekly insurable earnings, up to a maximum of $562 per week.
The parental benefit has two options.
The standard benefit is for a maximum of 35 weeks that must be claimed within the 52-week period after the week your child was born. This benefit will be 55% of your average weekly insurable earnings, up to a maximum of $562 per week.
The extended benefit is for a maximum of 61 weeks that must be claimed within the 78-week period after the week your child was born. This benefit will be 33% of your average weekly insurable earnings, up to a maximum of $337 per week.
Working while receiving benefits
If you work during your benefit period, you are eligible to keep 50 cents of EI benefits for every dollar you earn. However, if you exceed 90% of your previous weekly earnings (roughly 4.5 days), there will be a dollar for dollar reduction in the benefits you receive. If you work the entire week, you will not be eligible to receive EI benefits, regardless of the amount of income you earn. However, if you become ineligible for benefits due to working, it will not reduce the total number of weeks that you can claim the benefit.