Employment insurance premiums will be six cents lower for employers in 2020, offering relief to business owners.

The Canada Employment Insurance Commission (CEIC) said Friday that the 2020 EI premium rate will be $1.58 per $100 of insurable earnings, a decrease of four cents for employees compared to the 2019 rate. For employers, who pay 1.4 times the employee rate, the new rate of $2.21 is six cents lower.

The commission sets the annual premium rate based on the seven-year break-even rate for the EI operating account. Lower unemployment projections contribute to lower rates.

The maximum insurable earnings (MIE) for 2020 will increase to $54,200 from $53,100 in 2019, the CEIC said. The MIE represents the ceiling up to which EI premiums are collected and the maximum amount considered in applications for EI benefits. The maximum annual EI contribution for employers will decrease by $5.41 to $1,198.90 per employee; for workers, the maximum is down $3.86 to $856.36.

For self-employed Canadians who opt in to the EI program, the annual earnings required in 2019 will increase to $7,279 for claims filed in 2020.

In Quebec, which administers its own plan, the premium covered under the Quebec Parental Insurance Plan (QPIP) will be $1.20 per $100 of insurable earnings in 2020, while employers will pay $1.68 per $100 of insurable earnings.

The maximum annual contribution for a worker in Quebec will decrease by $13.35 to $650.40. For Quebec employers, the maximum is down $18.69 to $910.56 per employee.