News & Blog

Are Employee Absences Giving you a Headache?


Changes to the Employment Insurance waiting period brings employers focus back to managing short-term disabilities.

The 2016 Federal Budget released earlier this year included a change that will impact disability coverage on plans.  The waiting period for Employment Insurance (EI) benefits will be reduced from two weeks to one week starting JANUARY 1, 2017.

With this renewed focus on short-term benefits, many employers are struggling with how to best manage employee absenteeism due to sickness or injury.  How do you determine how long you will continue to pay your employee if they are off work ?   Will it depend on their seniority or their role in your organization?  Should you just send them off to the local Service Canada office to start an EI claim?

Managing these decisions on your own can lead to huge headaches for a Business Owner.  The easiest solution, and very often the best solution, is a short-term disability program structured and managed by an insurer or claims adjudication provider.  Let someone else, someone with knowledge and expertise take responsibility for managing that headache.

Here are some of the advantages and benefits you’ll realize from setting up a short-term disability benefits program:

  • Define the process so that every employee understands it and is treated fairly and equally.  It’s written out clearly in their benefits booklet.
  • Place the decision in someone else’s hands so that it is made by people qualified to do so.
  • Manage the cost.  You can insure it like your other benefits with a fixed monthly cost rather than scrambling to find the dollars to pay that employee plus their replacement out of your own pocket.

How will the Employment Insurance Changes impact Short-term Disability Benefits?

Currently the payment period is 17 weeks, including a 2-week waiting period (no paid benefit is issued) and 15 weeks of paid benefit.  With the proposed changes the payment period consists of a 1 week waiting period (no paid benefit is issued) , 15 weeks of paid benefit and 1 week with no benefit.

While the full impact is still be assessed, it is expected to have the following impacts:

  • Plans registered with the Employment Insurance (EI) Premium Reduction Program will have to reduce the waiting period for Weekly Indemnity (WI) and/or Short-Term Disability (STD) benefits from two weeks to one week in order to preserve any EI premium reduction they are receiving
  • Plans that integrate the expiry of EI benefits or EI-equivalent short-term disability benefits (WI or STD) with a privately-sponsored long-term disability (LTD) benefit will be affected.

Short-term disabilities are just one thing you need to think about.  We can help with that and we would also be happy to help you draft a more complete Policies and Procedures manual that outlines everything clearly for you and your employees.  No, surprises , no conflicts, no headaches…..

For more information and pricing for short-term disability plans, please contact Glenn Davis at: or call him directly at: 647-367-9475 Ext. 1