Payroll FAQ – COVID-19

Written by Janet Crawford on Mar. 17, 2020

With the current situation in Alberta there are many unknowns regarding the proper payroll treatment related to leaves and layoffs.  This could change daily however this is the information that we were provided by the Canadian Payroll Association on March 17, 2020.

Sick Leave – Alberta

On Friday, March 13, 2020 the Alberta government announced changes to the Employment Standards Code Regulation prohibiting employers from requiring sick notes from employees, expanding job-protected leave from 5 to 14 days, and waiving the requirement that employees be employed for 90 days before being entitled to this job-protected leave. At the time, the government indicated that this leave would be paid, though did not provide specifics.

The 14 day protected job leave is for anyone who has come in contact with the virus or travelled to a different country and is currently undergoing testing.  The Federal government has indicated that this leave is unpaid but the Alberta government has indicated it is paid. It may be that it will be a combination of payments from the employer through the use of sick leave, if your employer provides it, or vacation time or actual paid leave during this time so that the financial impact is lessened.  As well, the Federal EI program should be an income supplement for those required to be off work due to the virus.

For people quarantined due to COVID-19, the government is eliminating the waiting period entirely, so you can get EI benefits for an entire 14-day quarantine. The EI benefits remain the same based on 55% of your income level to a maximum amount of $573.00 per week.  There is no additional amount due to the COVID-19 virus.

Normally a medical certificate signed by your doctor is required to get sick-leave benefits, however it appears, at this time that the government is waiving the note requirement for patients required to go into quarantine by law or by a public-health official.

If you are put into quarantine as a precaution and aren’t sick then, but later do test positive for COVID-19, a signed medical certificate confirming the diagnosis will be required for you to receive sick-leave EI benefits beyond the initial period of the quarantine

Lay-offs

If laying off employees temporarily due to a shortage of work caused by the implications of the virus there is no requirement to pay out vacation pay.  However, if the employee doesn’t come back to work, then you will need to pay out all the outstanding vacation pay.  If an employee requests vacation pay to be paid upon layoff, as an employer it is your duty to comply. Here is the link for the Alberta Labour Standards termination procedures: https://www.alberta.ca/termination-pay.aspx . For more information, please contact (780) 427-3731.

Temporary lay-off notice can be provided to an employee for up to 60 days and at that time they must come back to work or be provided with termination pay.  Benefits are usually continued during a temporary lay-off.

For further information regarding this topic you can contact the Canadian Payroll Association at 1-800-387-4693.

Janet Crawford

Janet Crawford

Client Experience Manager

Janet completed her Diploma in Office Administration and has over 19 years of experience in customer service and as an office manager. She has been on the KWB team for over 6 years.

Janet is married and has three wonderful, grown children and one granddaughter, with another granddaughter expected to arrive this spring!
She has volunteered with Babies Breath, Millwoods Grizzlies, Millet Minor Hockey, Girl Guides of Canada, and Strathcona Druids.

Janet enjoys crafting as well as being outside camping and quading, and cheering her kids on at all their sporting events.

Janet's Contact Information

Other Posts by Janet

Mar 2 2021
CRA Offers Interest Relief on COVID Benefits

The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) recently announced that they are offering relief on the interest charged on certain COVID benefits.  Who is Eligible? You need to check ALL of the following criteria in order to be eligible: Your total 2020 taxable income was $75,000 or lessYou received at least one of the

Sep 1 2015
Alberta Personal Income Tax Changes

On June 30, 2015, the Alberta government passed Bill 2, An Act to Restore Fairness to Public Revenues. The bill has created a progressive personal income tax rate structure for higher income earners. Effective for 2015 and subsequent tax years, four new tax brackets and rates will be introduced: Taxable income of $125,000 to

Nov 17 2015
Payroll Related ChangesThat May Come Into Effect With The New Federal Government

On October, 19, 2015, Canadians voted in new Liberal party Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau. During the course of the election campaign, the party announced they would make certain changes related to income tax rate calculations. Although it is unclear when these changes will be enacted, they could be introduced soon after the new government takes

Oct 10 2017
KWB 10th Annual Bunnock tournament

What do accountants do for fun??? Well we grab some horse ankle bones and throw them at each other… The game is Bunnock Okay, well, maybe not “at” each other.  I know that sounds a little aggressive but actually it is quite the opposite.  The game is called Bunnock (go look it up

Dec 5 2017
KWB Christmas Party

At KWB we believe that family is important which is what we emphasized when we recently had our annual Christmas celebration. We decided to do things a little differently this year and we involved the children and grandchildren of our staff in a party where we spent the day enjoying Edmonton’s history at Fort Edmonton

Jan 31 2018
Alberta Labour Standards for 2018

It has been 29 years since Alberta Labour Standards were last reviewed and changed. The changes effective in 2018 are as follows: Minimum Wage The minimum wage has already been increased in recent years and is going to have one more increase to $15.00 per hour.  This increase comes into effect on October 1

Nov 6 2018
Audit Shield

Being audited is a difficult experience that can be both scary and costly. When being audited the professional and legal fees can amount to thousands of dollars quickly, so we found a way for you to insure against those unexpected professional fees by offering an audit insurance product called Audit Shield. With Audit Shield, claims

Dec 19 2018
December at KWB

December was another typical month at KWB. Work hard, but have fun doing it as well. First we started off with a family Christmas party where all the adults, children and grandchildren got together to enjoy each other’s company and celebrate.  This of course came with a nice visit from the big man himself

Jan 29 2021
Help Manage Stress by Using Technology

As a business owner, you have likely experienced stress and anxiety during the past year.  In order to run your business successfully, you need to ensure that your health and wellness takes priority in your life. When you travel on a plane, the announcer tells you that in case of an emergency, you

Aug 18 2020
How the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) Contacts You

The CRA website was recently a victim of a cyber attack.  In response, the CRA shut down its website and various portals to lower the security risks. As of the August 18, 2020, the CRA has regained their online presence and are opening their portals one by one. The CRA has stated that

Feb 8 2021
T2200 Forms and COVID-19

A T2200 form is typically only filed with the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) when an employee’s work situation requires them to pay for work-related expenses, or when an employee can, within reason, expect to claim work-related expenses as deductions on their tax return. As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic many people are working

Feb 12 2021
Records of Employment: Everything you need to know

This past year we have been asked many questions about completing a Record of Employment (ROE) form.  Here are helpful answers to the most common of those questions based on information from the Canadian Payroll Association: Q:  If an employee’s hours are reduced, is that considered an interruption of earnings? A: