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Staff Impacted by Funding Adjustments

Questions and Answer Section on Staff Impacted by Funding 2020-2021

If I am terminated while on lay off, am I entitled to severance/ termination pay?

Yes you are entitled to severance pay as per Alberta Labour Standards.

When will I receive my severance pay?  

Severance will be paid on June 26, 2020 and will be electronically deposited into 

How much will I be receiving in severance/termination pay?

The factor in determining severance pay is the  length of uninterrupted service with the employer.  (For more information go the Government of Alberta website at https://www.alberta.ca/alberta-employment-standards-rules.aspx).

How much are the deductions on my severance/termination pay?

WRPS is required to follow the Lump Sum Tax Rate for deductions along with the required CPP and EI deductions.  For more information visit the government website at https://www.canada.ca/en/revenue-agency/services/tax/businesses/topics/payroll/payroll-deductions-contributions/special-payments/lump-payments/withholding-rates-lump-payments.html.

Will I need an updated ROE?

Yes a new ROE will be created reflecting your severance/termination pay. The reason will remain the same as the layoff ROE.  The ROE will be sent directly to the government (same as was done for the layoff) between June 26th and 30th.  You can access this ROE on your Service Canada account.

Any further questions around severance/termination pay?

If after you receive your severance/termination pay on June 26, 2020, you have any further questions, please email Brenda Turner in Payroll at brenda.turner@wrps11.ca.

Will receiving the severance/termination pay affect my receiving or applying for CERB or EI?

Please check the CERB and/or EI website or give them a call.  

CERB: https://www.canada.ca/en/revenue-agency/services/benefits/apply-for-cerb-with-cra.html

EI: https://www.canada.ca/en/services/benefits/ei.html

Support Staff Impacted by Funding Adjustments - Questions and Answers

If I sign a document stating I can be laid off longer than 60 days, and my benefits are paid until the end of August 2020, what will happen at the start of the next school year?
WRPS expects that schools will not reopen until September 2020.

WRPS is offering to pay your benefits during the layoff period.  If schools reopen and you are recalled to your position, the payment of benefits will be subject to your existing employment contract. 

If schools are not reopened by September 2020, WRPS will need to determine whether layoffs will continue or if WRPS must proceed to terminate employment contracts.

What happens if I do not sign the “consent to benefit continuation” that is attached to my letter?
School authorities were given direction to immediately begin to provide lay-off notices to educational assistants and non-essential support staff with the expectation that their services end by the end of April 2020.  

Educational Assistants and non - essential support staff can apply to the expanded federal employment insurance program, as well as other federal support programs.  

Educational Assistants and Non-Essential Support Staff who chose not to sign the “consent to benefit continuation” will receive notices in accordance with their employment contracts that their employment contract will be terminated without reason.  These employees will not receive benefits beyond the date of their termination.    

Can my co-worker be my witness?
Yes, a co-worker can witness your signature.

Will my benefits continue during the lay off period?
Yes, WRPS is offering benefit continuance during the period of layoff which will be May 1, 2020 until August 31, 2020. 

The provincial government has indicated that classes will not resume until September 2020, If schools are closed past September 1, 2020, WRPS will have to reassess the situation based on funding at that time. 

What happens to my pension?
Both the employer and employee have to contribute to the LAPP pension.  If employees are not working during May and June there will be no payments made by either party during that time.   If you return to work with WRPS, LAPP will send out a notice after January 2021 providing details of buy back options for the time missed.  If you choose to activate the buy back option WRPS will also contribute their portion of the pension as well.   

If you do not return to your position, LAPP will provide you with options pertaining to your pension.

Will I have to re-apply for a job? 
Support Staff reduction may be necessary due to financial restrictions, changing enrolment patterns or student educational needs.  Staff reduction shall be accommodated through normal attrition, including retirement, resignations, leaves of absences or changes in employment status (e.g. full time to part time or changes in FTE) when possible.  In consultation with the Associate Superintendent: Personnel the following guidelines shall be used to identify the employees to be surplus/terminated:

1.  Specialization required by students or programs

2.  Availability of positions in the Division matching the employee’s training and experience

3.  Actual time served with the Division (seniority), exclusive of unpaid leaves, if all other things are equal

If you are not recalled from the lay-off, you will have to apply and potentially be interviewed for open positions in the 2020/2021 school year. 

Will my salary grid placement remain same?
If you are recalled backed to work in the same position that you left your salary grid will remain the same. 

Will I get to go back to the school or site that I left?
There are no guarantees but WRPS will attempt to place staff back into similar locations.   

What happens to my seniority in the system?
The answer has two parts, the following guidelines are used to determine how positions are filled and seniority is mentioned as the third guideline that would be used to fill positions.  

      1. Specialization required by students or programs
      2. Availability of positions in the Division matching the employee’s training and experience
      3. Actual time served with the Division (seniority), exclusive of unpaid leaves, if all other things are equal

Your actual time served with the Division (seniority) will not be impacted as a result grid placement will not be impacted.

Will I still have my WRPS email during the lay-off period?
Yes, your WRPS email will remain active during the layoff period.

Will I have to return WRPS property before my lay off commences? 
Yes, you will have to return keys, door access card, cell phone, computer, credit cards, and any other WRPS property to your principal / supervisor. 

What will happen to the personal days I have not taken? 
As per the Support Staff Terms of Employment regarding personal days:

One personal day without deduction of salary can be carried forward to the next school year. 

10.1(d) Personal –Two (2) days of personal leave without deduction of salary and two (2) days at the cost of a substitute may be taken each school year. One (1) unused personal leave day without deduction of salary can be carried forward to the next school year. This leave carry over will only be for a full day. No more than five (5) days of personal leave may be taken per school year. A personal leave day is equivalent to the normal scheduled work day. This leave may be used in full or half day increments.

During the month of April, are we able to use our personal days.

Yes staff can use any unused personal days during the month of April.

Can we use our personal days at the cost of sub in the month of April?

Yes, personal days at the cost of a sub can be taken, however the cost of a sub will be deducted off final pay even though there would be no substitute brought in to cover the position.

What about my sick leave bank?
The sick time accumulated will remain in your bank and carry over to the next school year.

Will we be paid out for sick days and personal days not used? 
Sick pay and personal days are never paid out but accumulated sick days are carried over in a bank from year to year.

I have a continuing employment contract with WRPS, how can I receive a lay-off notice?
The relevant sections of the Alberta Employment Standards Code, RSA 2000 Chapter E-9 are as follows:

Temporary layoff

62(1) An employer who wishes to maintain an employment relationship without terminating the employment of an employee may temporarily lay off the employee only by giving the employee a written layoff notice.

(2) Unless a collective agreement provides otherwise, a layoff notice must be given to the employee
     
(a) at least one week prior to the date that the layoff is to commence, if the employee has been employed by the employer for less than 2 years,

(b) at least 2 weeks prior to the date that the layoff is to commence, if the employee has been employed by the employer for 2 years or more, or

(c) if unforeseeable circumstances prevent an employer from providing the notice in accordance with clause (a) or (b), as soon as is practicable in the circumstances.

(3) The layoff notice must

  (a)        state that it is a temporary layoff notice,

  (b)       state the date that the layoff is to commence,

  (c)        include a copy of this section and sections 63 and 64, and

  (d)       include any other information provided for in the regulations.

Termination pay after temporary layoff

63(1) The employment of an employee who is laid off for one or more periods exceeding, in total, 60 days within a 120-day period is deemed to have been terminated unless

a) during the layoff the employer, by agreement with the employee,
    (i) pays the employee wages or an amount instead of wages, or
    (ii) makes payments for the benefit of the laid-off employee in accordance with a pension or employee insurance plan or similar plan, or
 b) there is a collective agreement binding the employer and employee containing recall rights for employees following layoff.

(2) When payments under subsection (1)(a) cease or recall rights under subsection (1)(b) expire, the employment of the employee terminates and termination pay is payable.

Recall

64(1) An employer may request an employee to return to work by providing the employee with a recall notice.

(2) A recall notice must

  • be in writing,
  • be served on the employee, and
  • state that the employee must return to work within 7 days of the date the recall notice is served on the employee.

(3) If an employee fails to return to work within 7 days of being served with the recall notice, the employee is not entitled to termination notice or termination pay if the employer decides to terminate the employee’s employment as a result of the employee’s failure to return to work in accordance with the notice.

(4) Subsection (3) does not apply to an employee bound by a collective agreement containing recall rights for employees following a layoff.

Is there the option for the board to lay off indefinitely?
 No

Will there be communication of all the positions that have been eliminated?
Yes, once the lay-off process has been completed this information will be communicated in the Superintendent’s memo outlining which position were impacted by the Alberta Education’s funding decision to reduce support staff.

What will our positions look like going into April 2020?
Your supervisor can respond to this question.

When will summer pay be paid out? 
If you are laid off summer pay will be included in the April 26, 2020 payroll.  Deductions have been already taken off summer pay. 

If we get paid out our summer pay immediately, does that mean we will have to wait to apply for CERB?
No, summer pay is earned income and all deductions have already been taken off.  Refer to the CERB website for more details. 

If you are laid off when is the last day?
April 30, 2020.

Premier Kenny has stated that PUF Funding has not been affected during this lay-off time.  Why are PUF Educational Assistants receiving lay-off notice as of April 30?  

The answer to this question is complicated because the messages we received from Alberta Education and information that we heard in the media were not the same.  Our response is listed below:

    • The direction from Alberta Education related to Educational Assistants stated, "School authorities immediately begin to provide notice to educational assistants with the expectation that their services end by the end of April. Funding payments to authorities will be reduced for the May and June payments through a 14% reduction in the Base Instructional Grant."  

    • A second message from Alberta Education stated, "This adjustment in no way impacts Program Unit Funding and we expect PUF Supports to continue.... school authorities have the latitude to use all PUF funds allocated to support special needs they determine are in the best interests of all students."

    • WRPS will continue to provide continuity of educational services for PUF students using teachers, learning support teachers and our specialized services team including speech language therapists, occupational therapists, and our wellness team.    

    • Many of the WRPS educational assistants are funded through both the PUF and the Base Instructional Grants which complicates the lay-off process.  We would have some staff members who would be reduced to 0.5 FTE.  These staff members would lose part of their income but they would not be able to apply for Provincial or Federal support programs.

    • We were aware that if PUF educational assistants continued working while all other educational assistants were laid off we would face criticism that we value some of our educational assistants more than others.  In the end, we made the difficult decision to give all Educational Assistants notice that they would be temporarily laid off.  WRPS is paying for benefits for these staff from April until August 2020.   

Financial & Support Services

Employment Insurance Benefit (EI):

Request a Record of Employment (ROE) at: Record of Employment Request Form

WRPS will then send an electronic copy directly to Service Canada.

Then you can access your ROE at:

https://www.canada.ca/en/employment-social-development/programs/ei/ei-list/ei- roe/access-roe.html

Apply online using your computer or mobile phone.

If you cannot apply online, call 1-833-381-2725. Please note that this line is currently overloaded given the number of people in Canada that have been laid off. 

You will not be issued a 16-digit reference code. Please complete your application without using a reference code.

Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB):

If you have already submitted your EI application, you will automatically be assessed for the CERB. You do not need to send in a new application.

You do not require a doctor’s note for COVID-19.

Information:

Government of Canada - Support for Individuals and Families

COVID - 19 Employment Insurance and CERB Program Information

Canada Emergency Response Benefit Q & A

Canada Emergency Response Benefit FAQ

Alberta School Employer Benefit Plan (ASEBP)

Homewood Health (EAP)