…seek and destroy the person or people who came up with the rules and regulations for Employment Insurance, specifically Maternity/Parental Leave benefits. I am five, FIVE hours short of the requisite hours needed. Do you know why? Because I had to go on bed rest or risk giving birth to a dead baby. This seems like a pretty straightforward case of medical leave getting in the way so let’s just overlook those five hours, right?
Well it’s not. Before I got pregnant, I was a student working as an RA but the RA job wasn’t insurable, it was scholarship. ‘Cause I’m smart and capable. But I wasn’t working according to EI. When I got pregnant, I dropped out of my MA program and tried to find work so that I could get the hours I needed to collect maternity. This in itself is ridiculous – the fact that for 95% of my adult life, I’ve worked full-time and paid into this goddamn system should count for something, but it doesn’t. But anyway, I went out and looked for work. And shock and surprise, I couldn’t find any for a few months because a) I don’t speak French, b) our country was in the middle of a recession and c) NO ONE HIRES PREGNANT PEOPLE. They just don’t. It’s not right, it’s certainly not legal, but they just don’t.
Despite these horrible odds, I did manage to find work. I lied to the employer in order to get it. Awful, I know but I was desperate. So I started working and then three months later, I went into pre-term labour and was pulled out of work. And now I can’t collect any maternity or parental leave. Apparently I was supposed to go in to work, against the advice of midwives, nurses and the hospital’s OB/GYN and finish up the hours. Which I actually didn’t know I was short on because when I read the rules online (which I did before deciding whether or not to risk my health), they said that in cases of medical leave, hours from the previous YEAR can be used (and in the previous year, I worked as a TA and did pay into EI). Turns out this is not actually the case – SOME hours can be used, enough to get me to the point where I’m fifteen short. I’ve appealed, I’ve had the CRA investigate to see if they can find any more hours somewhere (they found 10, bringing me to five hours short now…), I’ve done it all.
So I resolve to find these people who think that I haven’t worked enough to deserve benefits, even though I’ve spent years, since I was 13 in fact, working part or full time at various humiliating and unforgiving jobs, never once collecting EI, but always paying into it. These people who also think that seasonal workers who work 6 months of the year each year and then spend the rest of the time drinking beer and having good times do deserve these benefits. Find them and demand an explanation.
Very. Angry. Ezmy.