Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19)
Mar 16, 2020

COVID-19 Update: Quarantine and EI Benefits

By Peter C. Straszynski

The Federal Government has taken steps to change the Employment Insurance (“EI”) rules for those employees who are required to self-quarantine on account of COVID-19.

Employees covered by EI can make a claim for benefits when they are unable to work due to medical reasons. 

While there is normally a one week waiting period for the receipt of EI sickness benefits, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced changes to this rule effective March 11, 2020. 

Employees who are required to self-quarantine or self-isolate on account of COVID-19 by law, by a public health official or by their employer, can now make a claim for sickness benefits. 

In these cases: 

  • The normal one week waiting period will be waived, meaning that quarantined employees will be able to receive benefits for the full (typically 14 day) quarantine period, rather than for only half of this period

  • A medical certificate will not be required for quarantine period claims

  • Claims for benefits beyond the quarantine period (where the employee has tested positive and continues to be unable to work) will require a medical certificate 

There is currently no mechanism in place to support those Canadian workers who are not eligible for EI benefits and who find themselves in quarantine. 

If you have any questions about COVID-19 and your workplace, or any other human resource law issue, please contact a member of our team. For more information about dealing with COVID-19, please visit our COVID-19 Resource Center.