Publisher's Note

  • Publisher’s Note

    Dear Kababayans, I hope you are all doing well this April and are keeping safe and healthy during this trying time. Last month we saw businesses closing down and workers getting laid off because of the economic shutdown that was created by the Coronavirus Pandemic. This puts a lot of stress on people as bills just [...]

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Page added on March 26, 2020

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COVID-19 support for employers and employees

COVID-19 support for employers and employees thumbnail

The Alberta government will provide immediate funding and supportive measures to support local businesses, employers and employees.

Emergency isolation support

  • experienced total or significant loss of income as a result of having to self-isolate, or are the sole caregiver of a dependent who is self-isolating, and
  • have no other source of compensation, such as workplace sick leave benefits or federal employment insurance benefits

Corporate income tax changes

  • Corporate income tax balances and instalment payments will be deferred from March 19 until August 31, 2020 to increase employers’ access to cash so they can pay employees, address debts and continue operations.

Education property tax deferral

  • Education property tax rates will be frozen at last year’s level – reversing the 3.4% population and inflation increase added in Budget 2020.
  • Collection of non-residential education property tax for businesses will be deferred for 6 months.
  • Municipalities are expected to set education property tax rates as they normally would, but defer collection.
  • Deferred amounts will be repaid in future tax years.
  • Commercial landlords are encouraged to pass savings on to their tenants through reduced or deferred payments to help employers pay their employees and stay in business.
  • Businesses capable of paying their taxes in full are encouraged to do to so. This will assist the province in supporting Albertans through the pandemic.

WCB premium payment deferral

  • Small, medium and large private sector employers can defer WCB premium payments until 2021.
  • For small and medium businesses, the government will cover 50% of the 2020 premium when it is due in 2021 – saving businesses $350 million.
  • Large employers will have their 2020 WCB premium payments deferred until 2021, at which time their premiums will be due.
  • Employers who have already paid WCB premiums in 2020 are eligible for a rebate or credit.

Utility payment deferral

  • Residential, farm and small commercial customers can defer electricity and natural gas bill payments for the next 90 days to ensure no one will be cut off, regardless of the service provider.
  • This program is available to Albertans who are experiencing financial hardship as a direct result of COVID-19. For example, those who have lost their employment or had to leave work to take care of an ill family member.
  • Call your utility provider directly to arrange for a 90-day deferral on all payments.

Banks and credit unions

Credit unions

  • Business members should contact their credit union directly to work out a plan for their personal situation

ATB Financial

  • ATB Small business customers can:
  • apply for a payment deferral on loans and lines of credit for up to 6 months
  • access additional working capital for ATB customers
  • Other ATB business and agriculture customers can access support on a one-on-one basis. Further solutions are being considered at this time

Job-protected leave

Changes to the Employment Standards Code will allow full and part-time employees to take 14 days of job-protected leave if they are:

  • required to self-isolate
  • caring for a child or dependent adult that is required to self-isolate

To be eligible, employees:

  • will not be required to have a medical note
  • do not need to have worked for an employer for 90 days

This leave covers the 14-day self-isolation period recommended by Alberta’s chief medical officer. This leave may be extended if the advice of the chief medical officer changes.

The leave does not apply to self-employed individuals or contractors.

Vacation pay, leave or banked overtime

Employers and employees may consider using other available leaves should an employee be required to self-isolate.

  • Employees can request using their vacation pay or banked overtime, but employers are not required to grant the request. Provincial employment rules only require employers to provide vacation pay, vacation leave or pay banked overtime within a year of it being earned.
  • Employers can request employees voluntarily take vacation leave and/or use their vacation pay or banked overtime, but cannot force them to do so under provincial employment rules.

Employment insurance benefits

Employees may consider applying for federal Employment Insurance benefits.

  • Allows up to 15 weeks of assistance if a person cannot work due to medical reasons such as self-isolation or self-quarantine.
  • The one-week waiting period for Employment Insurance benefits has been waived by the federal government.

Business continuity plans

Employers should consider their business continuity plans and how COVID-19 could impact their workplace. To prepare, make plans to:

  • protect employees
  • limit spread in workplaces
  • ensure continuity of critical services if staff are ill or self-isolating
  • explore alternate working arrangements, such as:
  • working from home or remotely
  • doing work that doesn’t require contact with other people

souce:Alberta.ca









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