Digest of Benefit Entitlement Principles Chapter 25 - Section 6

25.6.0 Calculating the amount of Work-Sharing benefits

The benefit rate is calculated in the same manner as it is for any other type of benefits. However, determining the amount of Work-Sharing benefits to be paid in any given week is based on rules specific to the Work-Sharing Program.

25.6.1 General

The amount of benefits paid for a week of Work-Sharing is calculated by comparing the hours of work missed because of the Work-Sharing agreement against the hours the claimant would have normally worked. Benefits are paid as a percentage of hours missed. For example:

  • weekly benefit rate = $500.00
  • the normal work week was 40 hours prior to the Work-Sharing agreement, and
  • in the week under consideration, the claimant works 30 hours, and misses 10 hours of work due to the Work-Sharing agreement

In this case, the claimant has worked 30 out of a possible 40 hours. Therefore, 10 out of 40 hours were lost due to the Work-Sharing agreement, or 25%. This claimant will be entitled to 25% of their benefit rate, or $125.00, for the 10 hours missed because of the Work-Sharing agreement.

The amount actually paid may be affected if the claimant has earnings from another employment or if any entitlement conditions are not met during the week in question, for example, if the claimant is participating in a labour dispute, is incarcerated or is out of Canada.

25.6.2 Non-conventional work patterns

The primary goal of the Work-Sharing legislation is to pay claimants for work they miss because of the Work-Sharing agreement. Regardless of the pay period type (weekly, bi-weekly, semi-monthly or monthly), most employees work regular hours in each calendar week of the year. Even when hours vary from week-to-week, they average in a manner that allows appropriate payment of Work-Sharing benefits for any loss of employment under the Work-Sharing agreement.

However, there are situations where employees do not work a conventional schedule. This may be due to the nature of the work itself, or due to the way in which the employer and employees have agreed to manage the work. This does not include patterns of work in which a claimant’s regular schedule includes lay days (Digest 4.3.5).

For example, flight attendants are federally restricted in the total number of hours of flight time per month. The hourly loss of employment for the purposes of Work-Sharing cannot be accurately calculated on a calendar week basis. This is because the employment can be extended or compressed into irregular patterns, based on the flight attendant's ability and willingness to work, within the restrictions of the law. Historically, flight attendants work approximately 75 hours over a period of approximately 1 month. When they work less than 75 hours, the hours lost can only be considered in the context of the 1 month period. In this specific case, strict application of the requirement to have one half hour of work in each calendar week does not meet the intent of the Work-Sharing legislation.

Although these cases are highly exceptional situations, in cases where work patterns may not be traditional, the program officer will examine the employer's scheduling history and decide if the conventional application of one half hour of job duties in a calendar week will correctly identify weeks in which there is a loss of employment due to Work-Sharing. If the conventional manner of defining a Work-Sharing week will not fairly compensate an employee for the loss of work, the Commission may develop a formula that considers the true loss of work and allows appropriate payment of benefits. There is no pre-set formula, since these situations are not always pre-set. The legislation therefore allows flexibility and the calculation will respond to the specific circumstances of that employment. The program officer maintains control over the final determination, but must advise the Commission of exceptional situations, to facilitate the correct payment of Work-Sharing benefits.

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