Harper promises parental benefits for self employed

Program could cost $147 million but would be self-financed by EI premiums
|hrreporter.com|Last Updated: 06/04/2009

Self-employed parents will be able to access parental benefits through employment insurance (EI) if the Conservatives win the election on Oct. 14, promises Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

Currently, more than 2.6 million Canadians, one-third of whom are women, work for themselves but they don't contribute to EI and therefore don't qualify for parental benefits (55 per cent of salary for up to one year for most workers).

The Conservatives' proposed program would be voluntary, with self-employed Canadians being able to opt in to pay premiums, said Harper. To be eligible, they would have to start paying premiums at least six months before making a claim, he said.