Throughout 2020, many Canadians found themselves out of work as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. This led to a significant rise in the number of requests for employment insurance (EI). As of October 2020, 1.4 million Canadians received regular EI benefits, which was already more than triple that of February’s 446,000. For comparison, the number of recipients after the 2008 financial crisis only reached 822,000.
Even though this is something no one wants to find themselves needing, the fact that the government has this service available, especially during one of the most uncertain years since the financial crisis in 2008, is an enormous relief to those who depend on their paychecks to feed their children and keep a roof over their heads.
To make an already stressful process a bit less so, we are hoping to provide some information about a document that is critical to making sure your application goes through quickly.
The Record of Employment – What Is It And Who Manages It?
When submitting a claim for employment insurance, one of the most important documents, if not the most important document, to have on hand is the Record of Employment (ROE). It is simple in concept because it provides all of the information that Service Canada requires in order to determine your status in the EI benefits system.
Service Canada is the government body that operates along with the Canada Employment Insurance Commission (CEIC) to determine eligibility, confirm the amount of benefits you will receive, and set the amount of time for which you qualify to receive benefits. The CEIC operates in a leadership capacity to determine the EI premium rate paid by you and your employer during your employment among other goals.
In technical terms, the ROE is provided to the employee by the employer upon encountering an “interruption of earnings” (IoE). Simply put, if your employer stops paying you for any reason for an extended period of time, they must complete the ROE form and give it to said employee.
For many reading this article and those who lost jobs in 2020, the reason for an IoE would be getting laid off due to no fault of the employee. However, other reasons for such an interruption might include:
- An employee quits or must be terminated
- An employee has had or is anticipated to have seven consecutive calendar days with no work and no insurable earnings from an employer (known as the Seven Day Rule).
- An employee’s salary falls below 60% of regular weekly earnings for medical reasons, pregnancy, childcare, or support for an immediate family member.
The ROE contains a history of the employee’s earnings including both the total amount earned as well as any changes in periodic earnings resulting from either raises, bonuses, or decreases in pay as the case may be. It also shows the employee’s length of employment.
These pieces of information help Service Canada to quickly determine an applicant’s eligibility and quantity of benefits. It also ensures the employment insurance system is not misused to obtain money that isn’t owed.
Submitting an ROE Form – Employee and Employer Responsibility
If an employee meets one of the reasons for an interruption of earnings mentioned above, the employer must fill out the ROE. There are two ways of doing so: fill out a paper copy or submit the information on the ROE Web.
If the paper copy must be filled out, this must be done within 5 calendar days of the first day of the employee’s IoE. Paper copies are provided by Service Canada and include three copies in carbon. The original goes to the employee, the second copy goes to Service Canada in the mail, and the third stays with the employer for at least six years.
Alternatively, employers can now submit the employment information on the RoE Web, which operates more as a database for employment history and encourages more-regular updates. The deadline for submitting an ROE online depends on the employer’s pay period cycle, though the general rule is five calendar days from an employee’s first day of IoE.
The ROE Web allows employers to create, amend, submit, and revise ROE forms for employees electronically and relatively instantly. They can also pull data for their company to store in their own payroll system.
ROE for Employees
As of January 1, 2021, employees can qualify for a maximum of $595 per week based on the insurable earnings (EI) maximum of $56,300. As an employee, it is recommended to check the EI amount declared on your T4 forms in order to verify this is reported correctly by your employer as it can have an effect on your maximum benefits.
Whether you work for a single employer all year and experience an IoE or work for several different companies in a contract capacity, the ROE is an important form to keep track of to confirm your eligibility and the amount of benefits owed.
The EI benefits are closely linked to the insurable earnings reported on your tax form, and the benefits tend to change every year. Be sure to check for any changes, especially if your need for employment insurance is caused by the Covid-19 pandemic in any way.