Can I Work While on Employment Insurance (EI)?
Many think that if you begin to work while on Employment Insurance (EI), then you’ll lose your EI benefits.
This is incorrect – you could still receive part of your EI benefits, while keeping all the earnings from your job.
However, there are criteria you must meet to be eligible to keep receiving EI benefits while working.
If you’re already receiving EI benefits, then you qualify to work while on EI.
How Much Can I Earn from Working While On EI?
Here’s the way it works: you’ll get to keep 50% of your EI benefits for every dollar earned, up to 90% of your earnings for the week prior.
Anything earned above that threshold will get deducted dollar-for-dollar.
If you work a full week, you won’t be eligible for EI – regardless of how much you make.
But no matter how much you earn or whether you receive any EI benefits, you’ll be able to keep all your earnings.
Sarah works as a teller at a bank and loses her job when they shut down her branch. Before losing her job, she was earning $700 a week. With EI benefits, she now receives $385 ($700 x 55%). She finds a part-time job at another bank working 3 days a week and earns $400 per week.
Since 90% of her prior earnings is $630 (700 x 90%) and she is earning below that, her benefits will only be reduced by 50% on the dollar. So, her EI benefits will decrease by $200 (400 x 50%). Sarah’s new EI benefit amount will equal $185 (385 – 200).
What Do I Do If I Start Earning While On EI?
If you’re already on EI, you don’t need to apply for anything once you start working.
The only thing that will change is that you will have to declare your earnings on the biweekly report you are required to fill out to continue to be eligible for EI benefits.
On the report, you’ll be asked to specify things like:
- Dates and hours worked
- Your earnings prior to any deductions (even if you haven’t been paid yet)
- Hours spent in training or at school and any earnings or allowance that you got for it
You can submit your report through one of two methods: either through the Internet Reporting Service or over the phone by calling 1-800-531-7555.
You would have received a benefits statement in the mail after applying for EI.
Every time you submit a report, you’ll be told what date you need to submit your next one.
You’ll have to submit it within 3 weeks of that date.
Did You Know?
The Government of Canada’s Job Bank has 65,000 jobs advertised on average each month
Frequently Asked Questions
- How many hours are you allowed to work while on EI?
You become ineligible for EI benefits if you work a full week. The government’s definition of a “full week” varies depending on the nature of your job and the average hourly compensation in specific fields, but anything more than four and a half days of work or 35 hours a week may be considered a full week.
- What happens if I work while on EI?
If you work while on EI, you’ll get to keep 50% of your EI benefits for every dollar earned, for up to 90% of your earnings prior to your employment terminating. Anything earned above that threshold will get deducted dollar-for-dollar. Once you start working, you’ll need to report your earnings.