Digest of Benefit Entitlement Principles Chapter 25 - Section 5

25.5.0 What is considered a week of Work-Sharing

A week of Work-Sharing is any week in which the claimant worked at least one half hour in the Work-Sharing employment. It is not enough that an employer pays an employee in the week; actual work must also be performed (CUB 72718A). If the claimant is required to report for work to attend a meeting, or participate in training provided by the employer, this time will be considered as work performed. In addition, the employee must remain available to the employer for any hours, up to the number of hours normally worked for the Work-Sharing employer prior to the Work-Sharing agreement. In any week during the Work-Sharing agreement, if there is enough work available for all employees to work a full week, the employees are expected to report for their normal shifts. If an employee could have worked, but was not available or declined to work, the employer must not report this time as hours missed due to Work-Sharing on the Utilization Report and Work-Sharing benefits will not be paid for those hours.

In addition, in some weeks, no Work-Sharing benefits may be paid, but the week will still be considered as a week of Work-Sharing benefits when the claimant both:

  • worked at least one half hour in the Work-Sharing employment, and
  • did not miss any hours of work due to the Work-Sharing agreement but missed hours of work because:
    • of a labour dispute, period of incarceration or absence from Canada
    • the claimant worked a normal full work week for the Work-Sharing employer
    • the claimant found full time employment with an employer other than the Work-Sharing employer
    • the claimant was not available to work or was sick between 1 and 4 days in the week, or
    • any combination of the above

25.5.1 Non-Work-Sharing week

When a week does not meet the definition of a week of Work-Sharing as described above, it is called a non-Work-Sharing week. This does not mean the claimant cannot collect benefits, but rather, the payment of benefits will depend on the claimant’s specific situation.

When the week is a non-Work-Sharing week, regular or special benefits may be paid, in specific circumstances (EIR 44). Any benefits would be paid under the provisions of section 12 of the EIA, which addresses the payment of regular and special benefits. When a week is processed for any type of benefits other than Work-Sharing, the claimant must meet the entitlement conditions of the type of benefits claimed, in that week. For example, a claimant requesting regular benefits must be prepared to accept an offer of temporary or permanent suitable work; a claimant requesting sickness benefits must be able to prove that they are unable to work because of a medical condition.

As noted earlier, the waiting period is deferred for any week in which the claimant requests Work-Sharing benefits. If no waiting period has been served in respect of the current benefit period, it must be served in the first week that is not a Work-Sharing week. In practical terms, this means the week is treated as a regular week of EI benefits, but no actual benefits can be paid.

If the waiting period was previously served on the claim, benefits may be paid, subject to the deduction of any earnings declared in that week, and provided all entitlement conditions are met for the type of benefits requested.

25.5.2 Availability while on a Work-Sharing claim

Pursuant to subsection 24(3) of the EIA, any claimant participating in a Work-Sharing agreement is considered unemployed, capable of, and available for work during any week in which they are working in the Work-Sharing employment. The means that for any week during which they are working for the Work-Sharing employer, that week meets the definition of a week of Work-Sharing contained in section 25.5.1 above. Claimants must however, be available for additional work with the Work-Sharing employer, up to their normal hours of work.

25.5.3 Training activities during Work-Sharing

Skills enhancement, whether on-the-job training or off-site courses, may take place during the period of a Work-Sharing agreement. Depending on the cause of the work shortage, the employer’s Recovery Plan may include plans to initiate training activities for members of the Work-Sharing unit.

Costs associated with training can be paid by the employer, by federal transfer or by provincial resources.

The salary costs of employees taking part in training activities during normal scheduled working hours or days cannot be compensated through the Work-Sharing agreement. Employees could take part in training during the non-working days or hours for which the Work-Sharing unit employees are compensated through the Work-Sharing agreement (in other words, during hours/days missed due to participation in Work-Sharing), however attendance would be optional. If an employee was called into work on a day that would normally be considered a day off due to Work-Sharing, the employee cannot refuse to go into work in order to attend training. If the employee refuses to go into work, the hour are no longer considered missed due to Work-Sharing.

The employer cannot specifically or intentionally reduce the scheduled working hours of employees in a Word-Sharing unit in order to allow employees to take part in training. The working days or hours of employees in a Work-Sharing unit must only be reduced based on the demonstrated reduction in business activity and projected reduction in work activity.

Referred training under EIA 25 is not available for employees participating in Work-Sharing agreements.

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