COVID-19 Resource Kit for Nonprofit and Charitable Employers

Created in partnership with ECVO (Edmonton Chamber of Voluntary Organizations), FuseSocial, and IntegralOrg. 


 

NEW: Updated Temporary Layoff Letter template  and new Extension of Temporary Layoff Letter template and Recall Letter template.

 

IntegralOrg is working with partners in the Alberta nonprofit sector to build resources to help nonprofits and charities respond to the COVID-19 crisis.

As COVID-19 continues to disrupt organizations and pose challenges to business as usual, the Edmonton Chamber of Voluntary Organizations, FuseSocial and IntegralOrg have collaborated to compile a kit of essential human resource supports for nonprofit employers.

This information has been compiled as a quick resource guide for nonprofit employers but should not take the place of consulting a legal or human resource professional.

Disclaimer

The mission of IntegralOrg is to add value as an active participant within the charitable and non-profit sector by offering a proactive educational and supportive approach to governance and management.  We help organizations with regulatory compliance and best practices in carrying out their mission. “Our mission is yours."

IntegralOrg wants organizations to be kept up-to-date on the regulatory initiatives of government and believes that the information contained here is accurate at the time of publication. However, government policy and legislation can change at any time. The contents of this resource kit or links to other websites  are provided for information only,  do not constitute legal or other professional advice and are only to be used on the basis that they have been provided “as is” without warranties of any kind, either expressed or implied, as to content, usefulness,  completeness, or accuracy. IntegralOrg will not be responsible for any loss arising from reliance on or any action or inaction as a result of the information in this resource kit. 

This website is not intended to provide any legal advice neither can the authors be held accountable for the information provided. This site is for information purposes only. We do not warrant that the information provided is up to date or accurate. Consult the appropriate professional (tax and/or legal) before taking under guidance.

 

Programs Available to Nonprofit and Charitable Organizations Impacted by COVID-19

 

Federal Programs

Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy 

The subsidy aims to prevent further job losses, encourage employers to rehire those employees laid off as a result of COVID-19, and better position companies and organizations to resume normal operations after the crisis is over.

The federal government will pay up to 75 percent of wages for 12 weeks for qualifying companies, including nonprofits and charities, whose revenue has decreased by at least 15% in March and 30% for the following months. The program runs from March 15 to June 6, 2020.

For nonprofits and charities, the calculation of revenue "will include most forms of revenue, excluding revenues from non-arm's-length persons. These organizations would be allowed to choose whether or not to include revenue from government sources."

There are two methods of calculating the change in revenue: year-over-year for the calendar month in which the period began or an average of revenue earned in January and February 2020.

The maximum subsidy amount is $847 / week per employee. There is no overall limit on the subsidy amount that an eligible employer may claim.

Employers can apply through the Canada Revenue Agency’s My Business Account portal as well as a web-based application starting Monday, April 27. A wage subsidy calculator is now available.

Full details can be found here.


Temporary Wage Subsidy 

As part of its COVID-19 Economic Response Plan, the Government of Canada has put into place a temporary wage subsidy for eligible employers to prevent layoffs. 

The Temporary Wage Subsidy for Employers is a three-month measure that will allow eligible employers to reduce the amount of payroll deductions required to be remitted to the Canada Revenue Agency. 

Eligible employers include non-profit organizations and registered charities who have an existing business number and payroll program account with the CRA on March 18, 2020 and who pay salary, wages, bonuses, or other remuneration to an employee.

The subsidy is to be equal to ten per cent (10%) of an employee’s salary up to a maximum of $1,375 per employee and $25,000 per employer. Organizations would immediately benefit from this support by reducing the remittance of income tax withheld on their employees’ wages. 

The subsidy is calculated manually by the employer. Once the subsidy is calculated, employers can reduce their current remittance of federal, provincial, or territorial income tax that they send to the CRA by the amount of the subsidy starting with their next remittance period scheduled after March 18, 2020.

Full details can be found here.

 

Work-Sharing Program 

Work-Sharing (WS) is an Employment Insurance adjustment program designed to help eligible employers and employees avoid layoffs when there is a temporary reduction in the normal level of business activity that is beyond the control of the employer.  

Work Sharing is a three-party agreement amongst employers, employees and Service Canada, where the employees must agree to a reduced schedule of work and to share the available work over a specified period. The program allows employers to temporarily reduce its employee’s work schedule, by providing the employee with a portion of their reduced income. The measure provides income support to employees eligible for Employment Insurance benefits who work a temporarily reduced workweek while their employer recovers. 

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Government of Canada has introduced some special temporary measures including extending the maximum duration of agreements from 38 weeks to 78 weeks, waiving the waiting period between agreements, and easing the recovery plan requirements.

There are several criteria for eligibility, including:

  • must be experiencing a recent decline in business activity of at least 10%
  • must be experiencing a recent decline in business activity directly or indirectly related to the impact of COVID-19
  • must be a private business, a publicly held company or a not-for-profit organization

See our COVID-19 Work Sharing Fact Sheet.

 

Canada Summer Jobs Program

Canada Summer Jobs “is an initiative of the Youth Employment and Skills Strategy, which aims to provide flexible and holistic services to support all young Canadians develop the skills and gain paid work experience to successfully transition in the labour market.”

In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Government of Canada has introduced “temporary flexibilities” to Canada Summer Jobs 2020.

First off, it is important to note that the application deadline for Canada Summer Jobs 2020 was February 2020 and applications are now closed. The temporary flexibilities, therefore, are available only to those employers who applied previously. Applications are being reviewed and Service Canada will begin to inform employers of the status of their application beginning in May 2020.

Temporary flexibilities include:

Part-Time Employment: All funded employers may offer part-time placements (for example, fewer than 30 hours per week). Previously, all CSJ-funded employment had to be full time (a minimum of 30 hours per week for at least 6 weeks).

Employment Period: All funded employers may offer job placements between May 11, 2020 and February 28, 2021. Employers can offer part-time employment to youth who want to work during the academic year. Previously, all CSJ-funded positions had to be completed no later than August 28, 2020.

Changes to Project and Job Activities: All funded employers will be provided the flexibility to amend project and job activities to support the delivery of critical services. For example, a position in community programming: could involve a shift away from in-person activities to the use of digital tools for the delivery of programming.

Wage Subsidies: All funded employers will be eligible to receive a wage subsidy reimbursement of up to 100% of the provincial or territorial minimum hourly wage. Nonprofit employers have always been eligible for a wage subsidy up to 100% of minimum wage. However, previously, private and public sector employers were only eligible to receive up to 50% of the provincial or territorial minimum wage.

More information on the Canada Summer Jobs Program is here:

Information on the temporary flexibilities to Canada Summer Jobs 2020 is here:

 

 

Provincial Programs

Workers Compensation Board (WCB) Premium Payment Deferral 

Small and medium businesses in the private sector (as well as those in voluntary industries), are eligible to receive a reduction in their WCB premiums. 

The government will cover 50% of the 2020 premium when it is due in 2021.  Large employers will have their 2020 WCB premium payments deferred until 2021. 

No application is necessary, these will automatically be waived. 

View the Workers Compensation Board announcement here.

WCB Employer Fact Sheet: Premium relief for employers

 

 

Resources for Nonprofit and Charitable Employers

At this time, leaders of nonprofit and charitable organizations are facing difficult decisions about their business and their employees. Those employers who are considering layoffs are concerned about their employees and how they will cope. We have provided helpful templates and checklists for your use. 

Things to Consider Before a Staff Layoff

Employee Termination Checklist

Temporary Layoff Letter Template: updated May 1, 2020

Extension of Temporary Layoff Letter Template

Recall Letter Template

 

Workplace Guidance for Business Owners: Government of Alberta

The Government of Alberta has noted that all workplaces are expected to develop and implement policies and procedures to address COVID-19. The Government of Alberta has published a comprehensive document, Workplace Guidance for Business Owners, to support employers in safely re-opening or continuing operations. Consult this document for guidance on:

  • Communication related to COVID-19
  • Sick staff and volunteers
  • Prevention measures including cleanliness, distancing and screening
  • Requirements for quarantine and isolation

View Workplace Guidance for Business Owners.

 

 

Programs Available to Nonprofit and Charitable Workers Impacted by COVID-19

Following is a summary of programs that are available to help employees during this difficult time. 

 

Federal Programs

Employment Insurance: Sickness Benefits: COVID-19

Sickness Benefits are part of the Employment Insurance program. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Service Canada is waiving the one-week waiting period for its Employment Insurance sickness benefits for those quarantined due to COVID-19.

The benefit provides up to 15-weeks of financial assistance up to a maximum of $573 per week. 

Quarantined individuals are not required to provide a medical certificate and should apply online.

Service Canada has also setup a dedicated phone line for quarantined individuals who have already applied and would like to have the waiting period waived. 

Telephone: 1-833-381-2725 (toll-free)  Teletypewriter (TTY): 1-800-529-3742

View full program details here.

See our COVID-19 EI Sickness Benefits Fact Sheet.

 

Canada Emergency Response Benefit

To support workers and help businesses keep their employees, the Government of Canada is implementing the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB).

This taxable benefit provides $2,000 a month for up to four months for workers who lose their income as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Canadians who are already receiving EI regular and sickness benefits as of today would continue to receive their benefits and should not apply to the CERB. If their EI benefits end before October 3, 2020, they could apply for the CERB once their EI benefits cease and if they are unable to return to work due to COVID-19.

Canadians who have already applied for EI and whose application has not yet been processed would not need to reapply. Canadians who are eligible for EI regular and sickness benefits would still be able to access their normal EI benefits, if still unemployed, after the 16-week period covered by the CERB.

This benefit covers those who have lost their job, are sick, quarantined, or taking care of someone who is sick with COVID-19, as well as working parents who must stay home without pay to care for children who are sick or at home because of school and daycare closures.

The benefit applies to wage earners, as well as contract workers and self-employed individuals who would not otherwise be eligible for Employment Insurance (EI).

Additionally, workers who are still employed, but are not receiving income because of disruptions to their work situation due to COVID-19, would also qualify for the CERB. This would help businesses keep their employees as they navigate these difficult times, while ensuring they preserve the ability to quickly resume operations as soon as it becomes possible.

More information and the application portal can be found here.

 

Employment Insurance Regular Benefits

Employees who are laid off may be able to access regular EI benefits. 

Employment Insurance (EI) provides regular benefits to individuals who lose their jobs through no fault of their own (for example, due to shortage of work, seasonal or mass lay-offs) and are available for and able to work, but can't find a job.

Always apply for EI benefits as soon as you stop working. You can apply for benefits even if you have not yet received your Record of Employment (ROE). If you delay filing your claim for benefits for more than four weeks after your last day of work, you may lose benefits. 

Full details can be found here.

See our COVID-19 Regular Benefits Fact Sheet.

 

 

Provincial Programs

Job-Protected Leave 

The Government of Alberta has implemented 14-days of job-protected leave for employees required to self-isolate or care for a child or dependent that is required to self-isolate. 

There is no minimum employment tenure and employees are not required to provide a medical note. This program is not available for self-employed individuals or contractors. 

Full details can be found here.

 

Emergency Isolation Support: This program has now been closed by the Government of Alberta

This is a temporary program for working adult Albertans who must self-isolate because they meet the Government of Alberta’s published criteria for self-isolation, including persons who are the sole care-giver for a dependent who must self-isolate because they meet the public health criteria, and who will not have another source of pay or compensation while they are self-isolated.

Criteria for self-isolation include:

  • if you recently returned from travel outside of Canada (even if feeling well)
  • are in close contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19
  • have been asked by a health care professional to self-isolate for another reason
  • if you become sick with symptoms such as dry cough, fever, difficulty breathing, runny nose, sore throat

A one-time payment of $1,146 will be distributed to bridge the gap until the federal emergency payments begin in April.

More details about eligibility can be found here.

How to apply:

Sign into the MyAlberta Emergency Isolation Support system using your verified MyAlberta Digital ID (MADI) account to complete the application.

If you don’t have a verified MADI account, you can sign up during the application process using your Alberta driver’s licence or ID card number to confirm your identity.

You do not need to wait 10 days for the mailed verification code to complete your application.

 

 

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I temporarily lay off an employee?

According to the Employment Standards Code, Part 2, Division 8, an Alberta employer can temporarily lay off an employee by following the basic rules below, (unless a collective agreement provides otherwise):

  • A notice of temporary layoff is in writing, stating that it is a temporary layoff notice, include its effective date, and include sections 62-64 of the Employment Standards Code.
  • The notice must be provided (unless otherwise stated in a collective agreement) at least one week prior to the layoff date if the employee has been employed by the employer for less than 2 years OR at least two weeks prior to the layoff date if the employee has been employed by the employer for more than 2 years.
  • In instances of unforeseeable circumstances employers are required to provide as much notice as possible.  (For example, COVID-19)

Usually, the maximum length of a temporary layoff in Alberta is 60 total days within a 120 day period.  On the 61st day of temporary layoff, if no recall notice is given, the employees employment is considered terminated. 

However, during COVID-19, the maximum time for temporary layoffs has been increased from 60 days to 120 days for layoffs that occurred on or after March 17, 2020. To extend to 120 days, employers must issue a second 60-day valid temporary layoff letter to employees. If there is a collective agreement in place, an employee may have recall rights following the layoff and termination pay is owed when recall rights expire.

An employer must issue an ROE for an employee being temporarily laid off.

*Employers who are considering temporary layoffs should ensure they are complying with contract and common law as applicable as well as the Employment Standards Code.

More details from the Government of Alberta about temporary layoffs can be found here.

 

How do I complete a Record of Employment (ROE)?

When an employer lays off or terminates and employee, a ROE must be completed.  

The ROE is the form—whether electronic or paper—that employers complete for employees receiving insurable earnings who stop working and experience an interruption of earnings. The ROE is the single most important document in the Employment Insurance (EI) program. You must complete the ROE even if the employee does not intend to apply for EI benefits.  

When an employee has had or is anticipated to have seven consecutive calendar days with no work and no insurable earnings from the employer, an interruption of earnings occurs. This is called the seven-day rule. For example, the seven-day rule applies when employees quit their jobs or are laid off, or when their employment is terminated.  

When an employee’s salary falls below 60% of regular weekly earnings because of illness, injury, quarantine, pregnancy, the need to care for a newborn or a child placed for the purposes of adoption or the need to provide care or support to a family member who is critically ill, an interruption of earnings occurs. In this case, the first day of the interruption of earnings is the Sunday of the week in which the salary falls below 60% of the regular weekly earnings. 

Coding an ROE:

  • Code A is for a layoff due to a shortage of work or temporary business closure.
  • Code D is for Illness or Injury: when an employee is absent due to illness, quarantine, or ordered self-isolation.
  • Code Q: Quit
  • Code N: Leave of Absence can be used if an employee is unable to work, for example, if is schools and day cares are closed and the employee must stay home with a child.
  • Do not put any comments in the comments box on the ROE; this will slow down processing as the ROE will need to be reviewed manually.

View the ROE Guide here.

Detailed instructions for completing an ROE can be found here.

 

If my employees are laid off, can they work while receiving EI?

Some employers have asked – if they need to lay off employees, is it possible to help them through this difficult time by “topping up.”

If you earn money while receiving EI benefits, you can keep 50 cents of your benefits for every dollar you earn, up to 90 percent of your previous weekly earnings (roughly four and a half days of work). Above this cap, your EI benefits are deducted dollar-for-dollar.  

You are not eligible to receive EI benefits if you work a full week, regardless of the amount you earn. However, this will not reduce the total number of weeks payable on your claim.  

Since you are already receiving EI, you do not need to apply for Working While on Claim. You simply need to continue to declare your earnings online.

More information about working while on a claim can be found here.

 

What childcare supports are available for core service workers?

Select licensed child care centres will begin reopening the week of March 23.  Access will be prioritized to health care practitioners and critical infrastructure workers then secondly first responders and others.

Parents will be notified through their employer if they qualify to send their children to the newly reopened centres.

Alternatively, approved family dayhome are exempt from the closure as they provide care to fewer than 7 children at a time.  Private home-based child care providers also remain open as they are limited to 6 children in their home at one time.