It’s been so long since I’ve blogged, I don’t even know where to start. I’m sitting here watching the cursor blink at me impatiently, expecting something coherent and at least a little bit interesting. Hopefully I can deliver….
*** I don’t have any pictures that really fit the bill, so I am using random farm shots…*****
I think the most thought-provoking moment lately was regarding the most boring and tedious aspect of any business: paperwork. More specifically, employment insurance. To make a long story short: we had a lady work for us over the winter, and a little bit in the spring. She keeps count on a calender how much time she needs to work in order to receive EI- she told us she needed another 6 weeks and the she could get on the governments’ dime. We weren’t sure if we could afford her at her hourly wage as it was much higher then the minimum wage, I looked into a supplemental program through the government and she qualified, but she had to work 10 weeks, not 6. She chose to purchase hours from another business instead- this means that she would be on someone else’s books, but not actually work there.
On her record of employment (ROE), I had written a start date that was a little off-kilter- she saved up her hours to be paid when she wanted the money, so her first day she had 32 hours, that was the day I received them, with no additional records. Technically my fault- one for saying okay to this, and two for not realizing that 32 hours on the first day…. We were expected to check off “shortage of work” on her ROE- (since when did a farm have a shortage of work in the summer?) We were bullied into changing her start date and re-issue the ROE because she would’ve short time for employment insurance- even though this method of “saving up hours” is 100% illegal.
This is definately not the first time that we’ve been expected to do this type of thing, and it probably won’t be the last- we’ve had a few old guys not hand in hours so they could add it in where they needed it for EI, it seems to be a regular mentality for people around here. As far as I was to understand, EI was for those who needed the money ue to being laid off or actual seasonal work. Why is this considered okay? And more importantly why is it still this easy to access? In reality it seems as though it is a lot easier for this type of person to get EI then someone who doesn’t know how to work the system, and really needs access to it.
Matt and I have spoken about this on many, many occasions- we continue to feel bewildered why we can come up with some options to minimize the ability to work the system, but why the most brilliant minds on our country tend to throw up their arms and claim it can’t be changed in a day. Honestly. Mind-boggling.
A few of our options:
A tracking system: Surely to goodness with technology these days a system could be created to flag on those who get on EI as soon as the hours needed are met- CONISTENTLY. Once or twice, dealable- 17 years, not so much. At least investigate a little- a few phone calls to employers to dig for proof.
A cap:If someone is making $120,000.00 AND can still claim employment insurance because they are seasonal, maybe they should learn to live on the money they earn during the season. For the past few years, we have made a fraction of that amount combined- and we get by, it’s tough sometimes, but we do it. Just like the majority these days.
Privatized employment insurance:You have to opt into car, life and home insurance, maybe we should do the same for this. This is a positive in several ways: self-employed people would be able to have an option if their business went under, you can choose to pass or your premiums would be affected the more you used it (meaning the tax payer wouldn’t pick up the bill).
It is a very frustrating thing to see people work so hard for their money and have it go to people who are fully capable to work.