Incentive Program to Retain Essential Workers (IPREW)
The Incentive Program to Retain Essential Workers (IPREW) is a financial assistance program created by the Québec government in response to the exceptional situation caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Under the IPREW, eligible workers may receive up to $1,600 in addition to their regular salary or wages.
The program pays $100 each week for up to 16 weeks of eligible work, retroactive to March 15, 2020. If you apply between May 19 and 22, 2020, the first payment will be made between May 27 and 29. Payments will then be made every two weeks.
For example, an essential worker who applies for the program between May 19 and 22, 2020, and who has been working since March 15, 2020 and intends to continue working for at least 16 weeks will receive $1,600, paid as follows:
- Between May 27 and 29: $1,000 for the period from March 15 to May 23
- June 10: $200 for the period from May 24 to June 6
- June 23: $200 for the period from June 7 to June 20
- July 8: $200 for the period from June 21 to July 4
To be eligible under the program, you must meet all of the following conditions:
- You work part-time or full-time in one of the essential service sectors during the program period.
- You earn eligible work income of $550 or less per week (self-employment income is not eligible).
- You earn at least $5,000 in eligible employment income for 2020 (self-employment income is not eligible).
- You have a total annual income of no more than $28,600 for 2020 (not counting assistance received under the IPREW and your spouse's income).
- You are at least 15 years old or turn 15 in at least one week covered by the IPREW (if you turn 15 between March 15 and July 4, 2020, you are eligible for the IPREW only as of the week you turn 15);
- You were resident in Québec on December 31, 2019, and plan to reside in Québec throughout 2020.
You can apply for IPREW benefits beginning on May 19, 2020.
Salary adjustment: Minimum wage increase effective May 1, 2020
The minimum wage increased from $12.50/hour to $13.10/hour, effective May 1, 2020. If your eligible employment income is still $550 or less per week despite the new minimum wage, you remain eligible for the IPREW provided you meet all of the other conditions. However, if the new minimum wage pushes your eligible employment income over $550 for a given week, you are not eligible for the IPREW for that week.
Emergency childcare educators and support staff
You can receive IPREW benefits if you worked in an emergency childcare service that remained open during the stay-at-home order, provided you meet all other eligility requirements. In addition, you can receive IPREW benefits for all weeks in the program period, even for weeks during which the childcare service is no longer considered an emergency service after your region's stay-at-home order is lifted.
However, if you did not work in an emergency childcare service that remained open during the stay-at-home order, you are not covered by the IPREW for work done in an emergency childcare service after your region's stay-at-home order is lifted.
If you receive a bonus from your employer and your eligible employment income, including this bonus, is no more than $550 per week, you are still eligible for the IPREW, provided you meet the other conditions.
Bonus for farm workers
If you are a farm worker who receives a bonus of $100 per week from the Québec government, do not include it in your employment income. However, you must include it in your total income.
Programs and assistance
If you receive amounts under the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB), the Canada Emergency Student Benefit (CESB) or the temporary aid for workers program for a week included in the period from March 15 to July 4, 2020, you are not eligible for the IPREW for that week.
Note that you are still eligible for the IPREW even if your employer receives assistance under the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy.
When you apply for the IPREW, be sure to include your retirement income (if you receive any) when calculating your total annual income.
If you meet all the conditions, see “Applying for assistance” below.
Beginning May 19, 2020, you can apply for the IPREW in My Account for individuals and use the online service to manage your IPREW information as well as view and modify your benefits applications.
Note that you must also be registered for direct deposit to receive your payments as quickly as possible.
You can register for My Account for individuals to apply for IPREW benefits online.
If you are unable to register for My Account for individuals, you can still apply for IPREW benefits online. However, you must register with My Account for individuals in order to use the online service for managing your IPREW information.
If you are already registered for direct deposit, payments for which you are eligible will be deposited directly into your account.
Sign into My Account for individuals and register for direct deposit now to make sure you receive your payments as quickly as possible.
For more information, contact us.