How to handle payroll if staff don’t comply with vaccine mandate

Ottawa provides additional info for employers on how to fill out ROEs

How to handle payroll if staff don’t comply with vaccine mandate

The federal government has provided additional information to help employers issue records of employment (ROEs) for employees during the ongoing pandemic.

Under the guidance, employers must use code E (quit) or N (leave of absence) when an employee doesn’t report to work because they refuse to comply with an employer’s mandatory COVID-19 vaccination policy.

Meanwhile, employers must use code M (dismissal) if they suspend or terminate an employee for not complying with the policy, according to the government.

“This most likely means that if the ROE is filled out this way, the claimant will be denied EI,” says Barry Fisher, employer lawyer.

Recently, several employer groups called for extensions to federal emergency benefits.

Also, employees must use code A (shortage of work) when the employee is no longer working because the business has decreased operations or closed due to COVID-19, and code D (illness or injury) when the employee is sick or quarantined.

“If you use these codes, we may contact you to determine if you had adopted and clearly communicated to all employees a mandatory COVID-19 vaccination policy,” says the government.

Ottawa can also contact the employer to try to determine:

  • if employees were informed that failure to comply with the policy would result in loss of employment
  • if the application of the policy to the employee was reasonable within the workplace context
  • if there were any exemptions for refusing to comply with the policy

Earlier, Ottawa announced that all workers in federally regulated workplaces will have to be fully vaccinated by Oct. 29.

Earlier this year, the government proposed in its 2021 Budget an investment of $3.9 billion over three years, starting in 2021-22, for a suite of legislative changes to make EI more accessible.

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