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Starting March 24, 2013, EI claimants who fall ill or are injured while receiving parental benefits may be eligible to receive sickness benefits. A person who is unable to work because of sickness, injury or quarantine may receive up to 15 weeks of sickness benefits. Currently, people receiving parental benefits under the EI program do not qualify for sickness benefits because they are not considered to be otherwise available for work. Through the Helping Families in Need Act, which received Royal Assent on December 14, 2012, the Government amended the Employment Insurance Act to waive the requirement for EI parental benefit claimants to be "otherwise available for work" or, for self-employed persons, to "otherwise be working" and to have ceased working because of their illness or injury. This change allows parents who are claiming EI parental benefits to be eligible for sickness benefits if they fall ill or are injured. The Helping Families in Need Act also introduced legislative amendments to the Employment Insurance Act to implement a new EI benefit for parents of critically ill children and amends the Canada Labour Code to protect the jobs of parents who take time away from work to care for a critically ill or injured child and/or to cope with the loss or disappearance of a child as a result of a probable Criminal Code offence. SOURCE Human Resources and Skills Development Canada