The process for calculating EI benefits went through a significant change in 2013 with the introduction of variable best weeks. Designed to make EI “more fair, flexible and responsive to regional economic conditions” your EI benefits will be calculated using your best weeks of earnings over the qualifying period (generally 52 weeks) rather than the average earnings. The number of weeks used ranges from 14-22 depending upon the rate of unemployment in your community (EI Economic Region). The areas with the lowest rates of unemployment will use the best 22 weeks while areas with the highest rates of unemployment will use the best 14 weeks).
As of February 8th to March 14th 2015, the regional unemployment rate table stated that for the St. John’s Newfoundland EI Economic Region:
- the unemployment rate was 5.5%
- 700 insured hours are required to qualify for Regular Benefits (this translates to 17.5 weeks of work at 40 hours/week or 20 weeks at 35 hours/week)
- The minimum number of weeks payable is 14 while the maximum is 36.
- The benefit rate will be developed based on the best 22 weeks.