Author: Oscar Torres, CPA, CA, LPA, Assurance and Advisory Partner
Employers may now submit Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (“WSIB”) claims to get reimbursed up to $200 per employee, per sick day used under the Ontario COVID-19 Worker Income Protection Benefit.
On April 29, 2021, an amendment made to the Employment Standards Act, 2000 (“ESA”) required employers to provide employees with up to three days of paid Infectious Disease Emergency Leave (“IDEL”) for certain reasons related to COVID-19. Under this program, employers are generally required to pay employees wages they would have earned, up to $200 a day, for up to three days. Eligible employers may now apply for reimbursement for the IDEL pay paid to their employees, up to $200 per employee per calendar day taken. This reimbursement is only for IDEL pay, and employers are not entitled to be reimbursed for vacation pay.
Eligibility for Reimbursement
Employer eligibility depends on employee rights. Generally, an employer is only eligible if the employee had less than three remaining paid sick days, the paid sick days pay less than the wages they would have earned while working, or if their contract is more restrictive than the ESA.
1. An employee used some paid leave in their employment contract
a. Ex. The employee used all three of their three days of paid leave prior to April 19, 2021. The employee would be entitled to three days of paid leave and the employer could apply for reimbursement for these three days.
2. An employment contract provided less pay than the ESA entitlement
a. Ex. An employee’s paid leave under their contract provides $100 for the day but the wages they would have been paid under the ESA are $150. If the employee takes paid IDEL, the employer can apply for reimbursement of $150.
3. An employment contract is more restrictive than the ESA
a. Ex. An employment contract requires a doctor’s note for sick days and the employee is sick with COVID-19. Under the ESA, an employee is not required to provide a doctor’s note for paid IDEL. If the employee takes paid IDEL, the employer would be eligible for reimbursement.
An employer is excluded from reimbursement if the employee received WSIB benefits for the same day of leave or the employer cancelled or rescinded the paid leave offered to their employees as part of an employment contract on or after April 19, 2021.
Applications for reimbursement of paid IDEL must be made within 120 days of the date the employer paid the employee and can be made here https://bit.ly/38BaTlF
For more information about receiving reimbursement for IDEL pay, visit the Ontario Government Worker Income Protection Benefit website. If you have further questions about any other COVID-19 support program please reach out to Bateman MacKay.