As employers, we are responsible for the health and well-being of our employees in the workplace. This has never been more important than now, as we find ourselves in the middle of a pandemic. Who knew we would be working to manage a distributed workforce or simply trying to retain talented employees who are currently on layoff. It is indeed a challenging time.
This week we are highlighting the following topics for you:
- Canadian Mental Health Association BC Division – COVID-19 and Anxiety
- Updates to the Canada Emergency Response Benefit
- BC Coronavirus Information Links
Canadian Mental Health Association, BC Division – COVID-19 and Anxiety Recommendations
If you are fortunate to be in a position to provide health benefits to your employees, you may be aware of the Employee and Family Assistance Programs that many insurance companies provide as an add-on option to your benefits program. This type of program provides free short-term counselling for employees and their immediate family regarding personal or work-related issues. The program meets many employee needs – stress management, health and wellness, crisis counselling, finance, housing and provides information regarding resources and agencies within your community. This is a great time to remind your employees if this benefit is available so they can access the support they many need during this difficult time. You may also want to reach out to your provider to see if this is a program you might be able to add for your team at this time.
Another excellent resource is provided by the Canadian Mental Health Association in BC. Given the uncertainties and related stress and anxiety we may be feeling in our current environment, they have highlighted some specific ways we can all support ourselves as well as our family and friends.
- Take action: Keep up to take on the COVID-19 recommendations for protecting your health and staying safe.
- Take care of yourself: Eat well, exercise regularly, get enough sleep and make time for hobbies.
- Stay connected: Find ways to connect with people you care about – phone, text, or video call.
- Help others: Check in regularly, ask friends, family members or neighbours if they need anything.
- Cut back on social media and the news: While it’s important to stay informed, constantly checking or reading can take a toll on your mental health.
- Explore self-management strategies: Learn and practice meditation, yoga, art or exercise. There are lots of apps. you can download.
- Have a plan: Be prepared for a two-week isolation period.
- Seek extra help or support: It’s okay if you need help.
To read more on this topic visit:
For more information on managing our mental health, use these links:
- Visit anxietycanada.com for information and self-management strategies for anxiety
- Visit healthlinkbc.ca or call 8-1-1 any time of day for health information and resources
- Visit flattenthecurve.com for plain language information on reducing the impact of coronavirus and the COVID-19 illness at home and in your community (this resource uses US examples)
Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy Update
This week, Prime Minister Trudeau announced a new, lower qualifying measure for businesses to be able to apply for the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS).
The initial proposal was limited to companies that would be able to demonstrate a 30% drop in revenues year over year for each of the qualifying periods in March, April, May and June. This provided for a subsidy where the federal government would cover up to 75% of the first $58,700 each employee earns, which is up to $847/week.
In his update on Monday, April 6th, businesses can qualify if their revenue for March fell 15% from January and February. This calculation is for the period of March 15 to April 11 and recognizes many businesses did not feel the full economic impact of COVID-19 until the last two weeks of March. The measure for a drop in revenues for April and May remains 30%.
Eligible employers would be able to apply for the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy through the Canada Revenue Agency’s My Business Account portal as well as a web-based application. Employers would have to keep records demonstrating their reduction in arm’s-length revenues and remuneration paid to employees.
Interaction with the Canadian Emergency Response Benefit
An employer would not be eligible to claim the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy for remuneration paid to an employee in a week that falls within a 4-week period for which the employee is eligible for the Canadian Emergency Response Benefit.
Employers who are not eligible for the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy would still be able to furlough employees who will receive up to $2,000 a month.
Department of Finance – CEWS Benefit
BC Coronavirus links:
Our team at TallSky Consulting is here to support all of your HR requirements and we share your desire to enhance and protect the health and well-being of our communities and workplaces.
Please feel free to contact us for assistance or support by email or phone at any time. Stay healthy, stay connected and let’s all work together to support our teams, local businesses and our communities.
DISCLAIMER: The information is provided as general information on these topics, and given the rapidly evolving environment, they may not be relevant with recent updates or changes on the topic. These materials are not meant to be a substitute for specific legal advice. Please do not rely solely upon this information for making decisions regarding employees in your workplace.