By Alan McEwen
The primary payroll task is to pay employees accurately and on time. You can’t do this if you don’t have the right data. For some payroll purposes this means earnings and hours history defined on a weekly basis.
The primary requirements to track employee earnings and hours on a weekly basis:
• maximum hours of work
• statutory holiday and wages in lieu of notice calculations
• completing the Service Canada Request for Payroll Information form.
These requirements have implications in the following areas: how employee time is entered, how the workweek is defined and the pay period cycle used. The best practice in all three areas is to define these based on Sunday to Saturday calendar weeks.
In most jurisdictions, these employment standards requirements are defined in terms of weeks. However, that’s not universally true. For example, the British Columbia employment standards calculate statutory holiday requirements based on work or earnings in the 30 calendar days prior to each statutory holiday.
Where these requirements are defined in terms of weeks, you have to know whether the requirement is for Sunday to Saturday calendar weeks or can be employer-defined workweeks. For most employment standards purposes, in most jurisdictions, employers are free to define their own workweeks and use these in the calculations listed above. However, that’s not true in all jurisdictions or for all employment standards purposes. For example, in B.C,, workweeks may be used to calculate the amount of any wages in lieu of notice owing, but calendar weeks must be used to calculate overtime. In Saskatchewan, calendar weeks must be used for all employment standards purposes.
For EI purposes, employers must be able to track earnings and hours worked on a calendar week basis, because that’s how Service Canada requires earnings information on the Payroll Request for Information.
hat’s the primary reason, that even where employers are allowed to define their own workweeks, the best practice is to use Sunday to Saturday calendar weeks for all payroll purposes. The other reason is using calendar weeks ensures employers may use the same seven day week in all jurisdictions and for all purposes.
Alan McEwen is a Vancouver Island-based HRIS/Payroll consultant and freelance writer with more than 20 years' experience in all aspects of the industry. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, (250) 228-5280 or visit www.alanrmcewen.com for more information.