Labour & Employment Law Blog

Record of Employment Codes: What are They and What are my Obligations as an Employer?

Record of Employment Codes: What are They and What are my Obligations as an Employer

In recent weeks the COVID-19 Coronavirus pandemic caused numerous employers to take swift action in the layoff or dismissal of many of their employees. Businesses have experienced a major downturn in operations and cuts in staff followed as an inevitable outcome of the foregoing.

Employees, on their part, have applied in droves for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (“CERB”) and Employment Insurance (“EI”) to obtain some form of financial relief during this trying time. The government assured Canadians that support would be provided even in the absence of the filling of a Record of Employment (“ROE”).  However, in this blog I would like to briefly outline in very general terms what an ROE is and discuss some of the most commonly used codes on it.

Issuing an ROE is an important statutory requirement for employers.  Broadly speaking, this requirement is triggered when the employer stops paying the employee their wages. This is also know as “an interruption of earnings.” The purpose of a ROE is to advise Service Canada whether the individual employee is entitled to receive EI. Failure to do so may result in adverse consequences against the employer.

The employer’s accountant normally completes the ROE.   The ROE is also expected to be filed with Service Canada within five days the employee experienced an interruption of earnings or five days of the end of the pay period when the employee’s interruption of earnings occurs.  This timeline may slightly change depending on the employer’s method of filing the ROE and frequency of payroll.

The ROE contains numerous codes within it with the purpose of setting out why there was an interruption of earnings. The ROE codes are as follows:

Code A – Shortage of work (layoff)
Code B – Strike or lockout
Code C – Return to school
Code D – Illness or injury
Code E – Quit
Code F – Maternity
Code G – Retirement
Code H – Work-Sharing
Code J – Apprentice training
Code M – Dismissal
Code N – Leave of absence
Code P – Parental
Code Z – Compassionate care / Family Caregiver
Code K – Other

The most commonly used code is Code A. It is normally used when there is a shortage of work and the company is laying off its employees for the season or if a contract has ended. It can also be used when employment has ended if the reason why it ended was that the position became redundant or was eliminated or when the company is restructuring or if there is a temporary or permanent shutdown of operations.

Code D is used when the employee is unable to work due to an illness. In such a case, and upon a doctor’s confirmation of the medical condition, the employee is entitled to receive EI sickness benefits or employment insurance sickness benefits. These normally last up to 15 weeks.

Code E is to be invoked when the employee resigns their employment. An employer has to be careful when using Code E as doing so will deprive the employee from obtaining employment insurance.

Code M is to be used when the employee is being terminated for any reason other than layoff or mandatory retirement. Code M is to be used when the employee is terminated, for instance, for cause. Employers seeking to use Code M have to be careful because Ontario courts have expressed on numerous occasions that actions leading to a dismissal with cause have to be of a serious nature and frivolously alleging cause may result in additional damages in the event of a lawsuit. At the same time, an employer has to complete the ROE form truthfully and if cause allegations are well-founded the ROE should indicate that the dismissal was for cause.  Alternatively, if there is no cause and Code M is the appropriate code, Block 18 should clearly state “no cause” or “without cause” in the comments box.

Code K is a “catch all” code and is to be used in exceptional circumstances to be assessed on a case-by-case basis.

The above article is for general information purposes only, does not constitute legal advice or create a solicitor-client relationship. Because each case is unique and factually driven, if you have concerns with regard to the foregoing issues, please make an appointment with one of our lawyers or a qualified legal practitioner elsewhere. We represent clients in the Greater Toronto Area including Toronto, North York, Markham, Vaughan, Thornhill, Newmarket, Aurora, Brampton, Mississauga, Barrie, Ajax, Whitby, Pickering and Oshawa.

Legal Receptionist

Zeilikman Law is an employment law firm located in Vaughan, Ontario. We are looking to hire a legal receptionist to join our firm. Preference will be given to candidates who have experience working as a receptionist at another law firm.

Location: Vaughan, Ontario.

Start Date: Immediately.

Hours: Monday to Friday, 9 am to 5 pm. Full time. In-person only. This is not a remote work position.

Wages: 35,000 to 40,000 per year.

Duties and Responsibilities:

  • Manage our firm’s multi-line telephone system to receive incoming calls.  Screen incoming telephone call inquiries to determine the nature of the telephone call and provide standard information related to our legal services.  Take and deliver messages and route incoming telephone calls to the appropriate staff person.
  • Answer general inquiries coming from the firm’s social media and website email.
  • Welcome in-person visitors upon arrival.  Direct visitors to the appropriate staff person and / or office or boardroom.
  • Organize in-person visitor schedule to prevent overlap and multiple bookings.
  • Receive, sort, and distribute daily mail and deliveries.
  • Arrange for couriers.
  • Keep front reception, kitchenette area and boardroom tidy.
  • Perform various clerical duties such as filing, photocopying, and faxing on an as-needed basis.
  • Process client or other payments.
  • May be asked to run minor errands outside of office such as attending post office to arrange a courier or pick up mail.
  • May be asked to assist other law clerks or lawyers of the firm as required and as appropriate.
  • Any other basic administrative duties or tasks as deemed appropriate.

Required Skills:

  • Basic knowledge of general office procedures including filing, faxing, and printing and copying.
  • Basic word processing computer skills.
  • Proficient in receptionist and telephone practices, etiquette, and decorum.
  • Professional attitude and appearance.
  • Excellent organizational skills.
  • Positive customer service attitude is a must.
  • Must be able to maintain confidential and sensitive information.

Education and Experience:

  • Highschool diploma or equivalent.
  • 1 – 2 years’ experience in an office setting with an emphasis in accounting, reception or clerical work is required.   We would prefer experience in a law firm environment.

Applications for this position should be sent via email to jennifer@zeilikmanlaw.com. All applications should include a cover letter, resume and at least two references. Only successful candidates will be contacted.