What is a ROE? Your Record of Employment Questions - Answered
In Canada, ROEs are standard payroll tasks completed by employers across the country. Whether you are an employer or an employee, it can sometimes be difficult to navigate the subject of ROEs and understand the complexities surrounding them. If not understood correctly, issues concerning ROEs can lead to delays in benefits, fraud, or harsh financial penalties.
Let’s take a closer look at ROEs from both the employee and employer side to answer all your questions about records of employment in Canada.
What does ROE Stand For?
ROE means record of employment. This document is issued by employers to the Canadian federal government to indicate an interruption in a worker’s earnings that documents their wages, hours, and length of employment.
Accessing an ROE is of particular importance when workers are applying for employment insurance (EI) benefits.
What is a Record of Employment?
More specifically, an ROE is a form or document issued by employers to workers who experience an interruption in insurable earnings in their job. This could be due to business closure, layoffs, dismissals, maternity leave, long term leaves, injury, and a number of other specific scenarios.
It is the employer’s responsibility to issue an ROE within the specified deadlines as soon as a worker experiences this interruption of their work, as designated by the CRA (Canada Revenue Agency). This is a federally-related document and does not differ from province to province.
There is a choice between a paper record of employment or an electronic ROE .It is always recommended to use the ROE web service to issue a digital record of employment. This comes with a number of benefits for both the business and the worker.
Without accurate ROEs from a worker’s previous 52 weeks of employment, they are not eligible for EI benefits. An employee that does not file accurate or punctual ROEs can face consequences and financial penalties. This makes it extremely important for employers to issue ROEs correctly and on time.
What is an ROE Form?
An ROE form is either an electronic report filled out directly on the Service Canada ROE web services page, or a paper document. Whether a paper or electronic copy, the fillable areas, format, and how to complete the ROE are the same.
What Does an ROE Look Like?
An ROE looks like many other Service Canada or CRA documents. It is organized into “blocks”, with each block containing valuable information about a worker’s time, hours, and wage at the company. There are 22 blocks in total, that include information about:
- The employee’s personal information and identifying information
- The period of employment information
- The insurable hours the employee worked and their insurable earnings
- Their pay periods
- A Reference Number and the company’s Business Number
- The reason for dismissal (ROE code)
All blocks may not need to be filled out, but it is important that an employer fill out as many as possible to avoid follow up questions or clarifications from Service Canada after the ROE is issued.
For a detailed guide on the blocks of the ROE form, visit the Service Canada website.
What Does Dismissal Mean on ROE?
When an employer is filling out an ROE, they must choose an ROE code to explain why there was an interruption of earnings. Some of the most common codes include:
- Code A - shortage of work (layoff) - used in company restructuring, temporary contracts, or a company shut down
- Code D - illness or injury
- Code E - quitting
- Code F - maternity
- Code M - dismissal
Dismissal, or Code M, on an ROE is to be used when the employee was terminated for a reason other than a layoff or mandatory retirement. Generally, this statement should only be used when the employee is terminated with cause. Employers must be careful when selecting dismissal on an ROE, and sometimes, additional evidence will be needed, especially if this is disputed by the employee.
On the other hand, an employer should always be truthful and if the employee was terminated with cause, even if the relationship did not sour, they should choose Code M, dismissal.
Where to Get a Record of Employment
When there is a qualified interruption of earnings, your employer is responsible for issuing your ROE. A worker does not need to specifically request it. There are two ways for a worker to obtain a record of employment:
- A paper copy
- An electronic copy
If your employer completes an electronic ROE, it will be sent directly to Service Canada. They may give you a copy as a courtesy, but they are not required to provide one. You can view your ROE remotely using My Account on Service Canada.
If your employer provides a paper ROE form, they must provide you with a hard copy and submit another hard copy to Service Canada. You can keep your paper ROE for your files or as needed to apply for EI benefits.
When to Issue an ROE
As an employer, determining when to issue an ROE can be complex.
Regardless of whether your employee wants or needs to file for EI benefits, you are required as their employer to issue an ROE every time they experience an interruption of insurable earnings or anytime Service Canada requests one.
In many simple cases, this is done when an employee quits, is fired, or otherwise laid off. They will no longer be receiving pay from the company, the relationship has ended, and an ROE is issued.
An interruption of earnings as defined by Service Canada also includes any time your employee has (or is expected to have) seven consecutive calendar days without labour and insurable earnings, or when their salary dips below 60% of their regular weekly earnings for any of the following reasons:
- illness, injury, or quarantine
- pregnancy or caring for a newborn or recently adopted child
- caring for a gravely ill family member
For example, something as administrative as your company changing payroll providers and “skipping” a week of pay can be reason enough to issue ROEs for your entire staff.
Navigating when does an employer have to issue an ROE can be difficult. It is always recommended to work with a qualified payroll team to ensure you are meeting your ROE requirements.
Where To Get Paper ROE Forms
If you are still using paper ROE forms, you need to get blank ROE forms by ordering these from the government. Contact the Employer Contact Centre and provide your CRA payroll account number for identification purposes.
Please note, you are responsible for keeping your blank paper ROE forms safe. These can create liability issues if their security is compromised. If you are still using and ordering ROE forms on paper, consider switching to online ROE web services with the CRA.
Where to Send ROE
If the employer submits ROEs electronically, they may provide the employee with a hard copy as a courtesy, but they are not required to do so. In this case, the electronic ROE is sent directly to Service Canada virtually, so no paper ROE has to be mailed by the worker or employer.
If an employer issues paper ROE forms, they are required to give a physical copy to the worker as well and a physical copy must be sent to Service Canada. One can tell the difference right on the ROE form, because the serial number on an electronic ROE will start with W or S, while a paper copy will start with A, E, K, L or Z.
In this case, you can either mail your ROE to Service Canada, or drop it off in person at a Service Canada Centre. If you are mailing your ROE to Service Canada, the mailing address will be provided on the Confirmation and Information page when submitting a virtual application for employment insurance.
Get Personalized ROE Help From the Experts
Navigating where to get a record of employment or when to issue an ROE can be complex depending on your unique circumstances.
If you are a worker that is struggling with where to get your ROE or understanding the codes, your accountant can help, or you can contact Service Canada to learn what your options are.
If you are a business owner unsure about when you have to issue an ROE or where to send ROE forms, the team at Accountor CPA can help you with outsourced payroll services.
Accountor CPA can help individuals and businesses when it comes to records of employment, payroll, and accounting. Contact us today to learn more and see how we can help you manage your employment income, ROEs, and your tax and payroll obligations.
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