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Tips for new parents and contract teachers

September 3, 2019 ATA Teacher Welfare

As of March 17, 2019, parents can receive extra weeks of employment insurance (EI) parental benefits so that they can share the joy and work of raising their children more equally.

These extra weeks are available to parents of children born or placed with them for the purpose of adoption on or after March 17, 2019, as long as they share parental benefits.

When parents apply for and share parental benefits, they may be eligible for one of the following:

  • five extra weeks of parental benefits when choosing the standard option or
  • eight extra weeks of parental benefits when choosing the extended option.

For more information on these new parental benefits, visit the website of Employment and Social Development Canada at

Are you currently substitute teaching or teaching under a temporary or probationary contract of employment?

If the answer to this question is yes, keeping a work log may help you qualify for regular employment insurance (EI) benefits when your employment comes to an end. Qualifying for regular benefits under EI regulations is contingent upon the following criteria:

  1. Your employment contract as a teacher has ended and you are not in receipt of an employment offer for the next school year or benefit premium contributions for the summer.
  2. You have not worked for at least seven consecutive days.
  3. You have the required number of insured hours accumulated in the past 52 weeks to qualify for EI.

The Alberta Teachers’ Association helps teachers with questions about EI benefits on a regular basis. Here are answers to some common questions.

How many hours do I need?

This depends on your teaching status and location within the province. It also depends on whether you are new to the workforce and if you’ve filed a previous EI claim. Check EI’s website for the required number of hours in your particular circumstance.

What happens if my Record of Employment (ROE) does not have enough insured hours?

Keep your own records of hours worked, including preparation time before and after school, supervision and extracurricular time after school and time spent marking assignments at home. Where possible, have your log book hours signed by a principal or other supervisor who can certify that these are hours you spent working. Although not a guarantee, this log book record can be helpful in your reconsideration request of a denied claim.

I am filling in for another teacher for a longer period of time. Could I use my plan book in place of the log book noted above?

Yes. Ensure that you record any time such as coaching, planning, marking or other assigned duties/professional responsibilities in the plan book. Have the administrator sign off on your time. Again, this can be helpful for your reconsideration request of a denied claim.

Should I apply anyway?

Unless you are extremely short on hours to qualify (100 or more), the Association usually recommends applying regardless, as waiting too long to apply can be another reason your claim could be denied.

What if I am turned down?

Within the required timelines noted within your letter from EI, contact the Alberta Teachers’ Association’s Teacher Welfare program area for advice on the merits of filing a Request for Reconsideration of an Employment Insurance (EI) decision. You have 30 days from receipt of the Commission’s decision(s) to submit a request for reconsideration in writing. For more information on the reconsideration process, please contact Teacher Welfare. In Edmonton and area, call 780-447-9400. From elsewhere in Alberta, call toll free at 1-800-232-7208.

For more information on employment insurance, visit the ATA’s website ( and click on Employment Insurance, located under Salary and Benefits, or call the EI general inquiries line at 1-800-206-7218. Apply for benefits online through the Government of Canada website at  

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