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Annie Chong: manager of Carswell’s payroll consulting group

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Are ROEs issued during self-funded leaves?

QUESTION: One of our employees is taking a one-year leave of absence under a salary deferral arrangement. Do we have to issue a Record of Employment (ROE) for the employee?

ANSWER: No, employers do not have to issue ROEs for employees on a self-funded leave of absence, unless the employer or the employee breaks the agreement that allowed for the leave and the employee does not come back to work after the leave.

If the employee will not be returning to work once the leave is over, the employer must enter in block 11 on the ROE (Last day for which paid) the date of the last day the employee worked before going on the leave.

Are employer-paid counselling fees a tax benefit?

QUESTION: Our employer offers employees a number of counselling services for things such as financial planning, handling stress, living a healthy lifestyle and getting ready to retire. The employer pays the costs of the counselling sessions. Are these costs a taxable benefit for employees?

ANSWER: It depends on the type of counselling. Fees employers pay for employee counselling for retirement or re-employment are not taxable benefits. Also excluded are employer-paid counselling for an employee’s (or for a person related to the employee) physical or mental health (e.g., tobacco, drug or alcohol counselling, and stress management counselling).

Paying wages in lieu of notice when wages vary

QUESTION: How do I calculate the amount of wages in lieu of notice to pay an employee whose wages differed from week to week?

ANSWER: The requirements for calculating the amount of wages in lieu of notice to pay for employees whose wages vary will depend on the jurisdiction in which the employee works, as the pictured table shows.

TABLE NOTES:

1 A complete week is a week in which there are no statutory holidays, the employee does not take vacation and is not absent from work for any other reason.

2 Employment Standards has given verbal assurance that the averaging period is 13 weeks. However, employers planning to use such period may want to confirm it with Employment Standards before doing so.

3 In some cases, employers may need to use more or fewer weeks to determine the average (e.g., for employees on an unpaid leave during that time or for those who have only worked for the employer for a very short time). Employers who are unsure of how many weeks to use should contact Labour Standards for advice.

4 The Labour Standards Board has given verbal assurance that the averaging period is 12 weeks. However, employers planning to use a 12-week averaging period may want to confirm it with Labour Standards before doing so.

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