Friday, February 6, 2009

Workshare Info as of late Friday afternoon, February 6

Special Instructions for Tembec Employees

I apologise in advance for all of the bolding below, but it is very important to bring some of these issues to your attention to ensure that you are paid on time.

You have a unique situation as you must apply for EI twice.

First you must apply for a Workshare Claim using the 16 digit reference code associated with your site:

All Employees must apply for EI from
Monday Feb. 9th to Friday, Feb. 13th

By doing so you will greatly increase the speed of the processing as all the applications will be run through our special automated system prepared for you on the following Monday.

REFERENCE CODE: 5972-03-2009-772975 Tembec - Elko

REFERENCE CODE: 5972-03-2009-772969 Tembec – Cranbrook

Then, you must wait for the paper client reports that are referred to below to arrive.
You complete them, submit them to the employer, the employer submits them to us, we input them.

Worksharing and Employment Insurance.

Worksharing is a program that allows an employee to collect Employment Insurance for the time during a work week that an employee does not work due to a reduction in normal working hours. A worksharing program is an agreement between an employer, the employees and Employment Insurance.

Important to Know:

-You must have enough hours of insurable employment to establish an employment insurance claim in order to receive worksharing benefits. The number of hours required varies depending on the unemployment rate in the economic region where you reside.
-Worksharing benefits do not affect potential entitlement to regular EI benefits. If you are on worksharing and end up being laid off, your benefit period is extended by the number of worksharing weeks you collected. If your entitlement to regular benefits is 38 weeks, it will still be 38 weeks. Worksharing does not use up these weeks.
-You need to work for your employer during the week in order to have the week considered as a worksharing week. If there is no work at all available for you, the week is considered a regular EI week and regular EI policy applies. For example, if you have not served your waiting period, the week may be considered as one of the waiting period weeks. You will only serve one waiting period per EI claim.
-If you have a current claim, you will still need to file an application for benefits. Our computer system will recognize that you have a claim that can be used. Again you must file using the worksharing reference code. When asked, “Do you want to start a new claim?”, answer, “NO.”
-You cannot file your Employment Insurance claim ahead of time. You can file anytime after the start date of your agreement. You must file your claim within 4 weeks of your last day regular shift worked, the shift just before the worksharing agreement starts, otherwise your claim will start from the week you file rather than from the start of the workshare agreement. You do not need to wait for your record of employment to file however you are responsible for ensuring that your record is submitted to us. You should check with your employer as many employers submit the records directly to us.
-If your employer asks you to work on a day you would normally be off due to worksharing, you are obligated to accept that work. If you choose not to work you will not be paid EI benefits for that day. If you miss work for a reason other than worksharing (ie: illness, vacation, statutory holiday, suspension), you are not entitled to receive worksharing benefits for those days.
-Worksharing benefits are taxable.

Filing your claim:

Log on to: go to “On Line Services and Forms” on the right hand side. Scroll down half a page and click on “Access Employment Insurance Services”. From this page you can get all the information you want on EI benefits and access all our electronic services. From this page you have access to more specific information about EI which you can access by clicking on any of the blue highlighted words, and at the bottom is says, “Start Application.”

One of the first questions will ask if you are part of a group of employees in a worksharing program and if you were given a reference code to file. It is very important that you indicate the 16 digit reference code you were given by your employer in this section. If you do not indicate this code, your application will not process properly and you will not be sent the paper reports to complete. This will cause delays in your receiving any payments due.

It is worth mentioning again, If you have a current claim, you will still need to file an application for benefits. Our computer system will recognize that you have a claim that can be used. Again you must file using the Worksharing reference code. When asked, “Do you want to start a new claim?”, answer, “NO.”

We encourage you to take advantage of our direct deposit program for receiving EI benefits. You will receive any money due to you within 2-3 business days of your report card being processed.

After you have filed your claim, you can log onto My Service Canada account on line and from there, access your Employment Insurance claim. Your on line account can provide you with information about when your reports are due and when they have processed as well as how much your benefits will be.

If employees have other questions about EI, our enquiries line at 1-800-206-7218 is there to help you. If you have specific questions about worksharing, you can also ask your employee representative or the person designated by your employer who will be able to answer many of the worksharing questions.

Report Cards:

Shortly after you file your claim using the reference code assigned, you will receive your first report cards in the mail. The cards will indicate your name, social insurance number and the dates the report covers. You must complete the report at the end of the period covered. Upon completion, submit the card to your employer pay office so that they can complete the required workshare information and submit it to E.I. on your behalf in one batch. If you do not receive a card within three weeks of filing, please contact your pay office to advise. It is your responsibility to complete your reports and submit them as soon as possible after the end of the period covered. Failure to submit your reports in a timely manner could result in your reports not being processed. You must submit your CRs even if you are not payable any money (eg you worked a full week). This is because your next report card will not be generated until the one before it is processed by our department. Please see detailed Claimant Report Input Guide for more details.

There are some differences between a regular EI claim and a worksharing claim.
-Employees on a worksharing EI claim do not serve a waiting period. Benefits are payable from the first week of the claim. The waiting period is deferred, meaning that if the claim changes to a regular claim at some point because there is no work available at all, the waiting period will then need to be served.

-You must declare full weeks of vacation and the associated Vacation Pay. It will not affect workshare benefits paid. However should the claim change to a regular claim, the allocated vacation pay will not be ignored and may postpone payment of regular benefits for a period of time.

-It does not matter how much you earn from your employer when on worksharing, you are paid based on the time missed. For example if you normally work 40 hours in a week and because of the worksharing agreement you are reduced to 24 hours, you will be paid EI benefits for the other 16 hours. The maximum weekly EI benefit rate is $435 per week. If you are at the maximum rate and missed 16 hours due to worksharing, you would be entitled to receive 16/40 of the weekly rate or 16/40 x $435 = $174.

-If you have earnings from another employer (other than your Workshare Employer) it will affect your worksharing benefits. You are allowed to earn the “greater of 40% of your weekly benefit rate or $75" before any deduction is made from your worksharing benefits. Amounts over the allowable earnings amount will be deducted. When you complete your reports, you declare any income earned from other employment in Box F and indicate on the back of the report (Comment Box on Question 5) the name of the employer you worked for. We will calculate any amount deducted and pay you accordingly.

-In order to be paid benefits, you must complete reports on a bi-weekly basis that let us know what you have worked and earned during the period. On a regular EI claim, reports are usually completed using either the Telephone or Internet Reporting Services. On workshare, you must complete using a paper report form. This is because you must return the paper report to your employer so that the number of hours you missed each week can be recorded. This cannot be done if you complete via telephone or internet.

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