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In the wake of COVID-19, many employers were navigating the complexities of temporary layoffs, including how to correctly fill out the Record of Employment (ROE) to ensure their employees’ eligibility for Employment Insurance (EI). This is particularly crucial as EI eligibility during COVID-19 had become a significant concern for both employers and employees.

What is the ROE?

The ROE (Record of Employment)  is a key document that Service Canada uses to determine if a laid-off employee qualifies for EI benefits. It’s essential that employers accurately code the ROE, as this directly impacts EI eligibility, especially in cases where the termination is due to specific reasons such as work shortage or dismissal. The code provided on the ROE also tells Service Canada whether the employee is entitled to EI (i.e. if the employee was terminated for cause, they will not be entitled to EI).

What are the types of ROE codes?

Here’s an explanation for each of the Record of Employment (ROE) codes:

  • A – Work Shortage/End of Contract or Season: This code is used when an employee is laid off due to a shortage of work or the end of a contract or season. It’s often applicable in situations like seasonal industries or downturns in business, such as those caused by COVID-19.
  • B – Strike or Lockout:  This code is applicable when an employee is not working due to a labor dispute, such as a strike or lockout, within the company.
  • D – Illness or Injury: Employers use this code if an employee is absent from work due to illness or injury.
  • E – Quit: This is used when an employee voluntarily leaves their job. It indicates a resignation, not a termination by the employer.
  • F – Maternity: This code is for maternity leave. It’s used when an employee is absent from work due to pregnancy or childbirth.
  • G – Retirement: Employers use this code when an employee retires from their position.
  • H – Work Sharing: This code applies to employees who are part of a work-sharing agreement. In such agreements, work hours are reduced, and employees share the available work.
  • J – Apprentice Training: This is used for employees who are not working because they are undergoing apprenticeship training.
  • K – Other: This is a general code for situations that do not fit into the other categories. Employers should provide additional details in the ROE.
  • M – Dismissal: Employers use this code when an employee is dismissed or terminated from their job, not due to a shortage of work.
  • N – Leave of Absence: This code is used for various types of leaves of absence, excluding maternity or parental leave. This can include personal leaves, educational leaves, etc.
  • P – Parental: Similar to maternity leave but more broadly applicable, this code is used for parental leave taken by either parent following the birth or adoption of a child.
  • Z – Compassionate Care/Family Caregiver: This code is for employees who are away from work to provide care or support to a gravely ill family member.

Each of these codes provides specific information to Service Canada regarding the nature of the employee’s absence or termination, which is critical for determining EI eligibility and other employment-related matters.

It’s crucial to note that for COVID-19 related layoffs, the most appropriate ROE code was ‘A – Work Shortage.’ This classification covers both layoffs and work shortages, thereby facilitating eligible employees to claim EI benefits.

Q1: What if an incorrect code is entered on my ROE?

A: Incorrect coding on Record of Employment Ontario can lead to delays or complications in the processing of Employment Insurance benefits. It is vital to ensure accuracy in coding to avoid these issues. If there’s uncertainty about the correct code, consulting a legal expert in employment law is advised.

Q2: How do ROE codes affect EI eligibility?

A: The code on an ROE provides Service Canada with the reason for an employee’s absence or termination. Certain codes, like ‘M – Dismissal’ or ‘E – Quit’, might affect an employee’s eligibility for EI benefits, as they suggest voluntary departure or termination for cause. Accurate coding is essential to ensure proper assessment of EI eligibility.

Q3: Can an employee challenge the ROE issued by their employer?

A: Yes, if an employee believes that the ROE does not accurately reflect the reasons for their termination or absence, they can contest it. They should first discuss the issue with their employer. If unresolved, they can contact Service Canada or seek legal assistance for further guidance.

Q4: What should an employer do if the reason for termination does not fit any specific ROE code?

A: If an employer faces a situation that doesn’t neatly fit into any of the predefined ROE codes, they should use the ‘K – Other’ code and provide a detailed explanation in the comments section of the ROE. It’s important to be as clear and specific as possible.

Q5: Is there a time limit for issuing an ROE?

A: Yes, employers are required to issue an ROE within five days after the end of the pay period in which an employee’s interruption of earnings occurs. Timely issuance of the ROE is crucial for the employee to apply for EI benefits without delay.

Q6: How should employers handle ROEs in case of mass layoffs due to unforeseen circumstances like COVID-19?

A: In cases of mass layoffs, such as those caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, employers should still adhere to the standard procedure for issuing ROEs. The most common code for such situations is ‘A – Work Shortage’. Employers should also stay informed about any temporary changes or measures introduced by the government in response to the crisis.

If you’ve been impacted by a layoff and have questions about your ROE or EI eligibility; or if you’re seeking advice on termination and your entitlements, the team at Sultan Lawyers is ready to assist. Contact us at 416-214-5111 or via email at mlahert@sultanlawyers.com for expert legal guidance.

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