USask COVID-19 Workforce Planning and Support Program

The current COVID-19 pandemic situation has significantly affected the day-to-day operations of the University of Saskatchewan and our employees. A small team of staff continues to keep essential campus operations functioning and any work that can be done remotely from off-campus continues. The suspension of the majority of on-campus operations has resulted in significant reductions or stoppages of work in many areas of our institution, including work that cannot be done remotely.

On April 23, 2020, the province announced its Re-Open Saskatchewan plan for slowly and cautiously transitioning the activities of the province back to a pre-pandemic state. We are reviewing the province's plans closely to determine where our operations may see some partial resumption of specific activities through the initial phases, including some forms of research activities, to align with the government's guidelines. 

However, outside of these possible areas under consideration, the university is not planning large-scale re-opening of full university operations within the next several weeks. In light of this, the University of Saskatchewan has developed an approach to adjusting our operations, while providing meaningful supports to our employees who are unable to perform their regular functions.  

The process includes:

1.
Staff working in essential campus operations will continue, some work in isolated areas of the campus or sites outside the main campus may partially re-start, and work that can be done remotely will continue to be done off-campus.
2.
Where remote or onsite work is unavailable, redeployment to other “like” work (within one’s bargaining unit) will continue to be considered.
3.
In circumstances where work is unavailable, we will be transitioning these employees to temporary layoffs for a period up to 12 week.
  • Employees who are temporarily laid off will be eligible to apply for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB). The university will supplement any temporarily laid off employee eligible for CERB with the following:
    1. a top-up to 85% of salary 
    2. continued full benefits coverage 
  • All employees will retain access to the university’s IT services, such as email, PAWS, and network access. The university will communicate with all employees regularly during this period. 

Employees transitioning to temporary layoffs will have the ability to use existing paid entitlements such as banked overtime/additional hours, earned days off (EDO's) and/or vacation in order to maintain full pay levels for additional days or weeks

Employee and Family Assistance Program (EFAP)

We are aware this is a stressful time for our whole community. The Employee and Family Assistance Program (EFAP) is available for support at 306-966-4300, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. EFAP continues to be available to all employees, including those who are temporarily laid off. 

Frequently Asked Questions

You can apply for the CERB through the Canadian Revenue Agency (CRA) website. Service Canada also accepts CERB applications, however currently, we understand that the application and approval process through CRA is simpler, shorter, and aligns with established USask administrative processes.

CANADIAN REVENUE AGENCY (CRA)
1-833-966-2099

Employees will have to re-apply for CERB once for every 4-week period of their temporary layoff

A Supplemental Unemployment Benefit Program (SUBP) will be used to top up the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) received by an employee.

CERB + SUBP = 85% of your pre-layoff regular earnings

Complete the EI Claim Information eForm in the ConnectionPoint Services PAWS portal as soon as you receive your Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) confirmation to avoid lapses in pension and benefit premium payments.

The Supplemental Unemployment Benefit Program (SUBP) will be paid directly by the University from the same funding source(s) as regular payroll, in accordance with regularly scheduled pay periods.

Step-by-Step Instructions

Employees can take a screenshot of the CERB deposit in their bank account and submit it as confirmation of their CERB application.

The screenshot must include:

  • the date of the deposit
  • the amount deposited ($2,000)

Supplemental Unemployment Benefit Program (SUBP) payments are subject to usual payroll deductions such as Income Tax, Canada Pension Plan withholdings, benefit premiums where applicable. SUBP payments are not subject to the deduction of EI premiums.

Yes. You are required to re-apply for the CERB every 4 weeks. You must reapply on the same site as your initial application.

You are required to notify ConnectionPoint immediately should your Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) benefit end for any reason.

All USask benefits will be suspended if you are no longer receiving CERB.

Normal USask practices would apply but you would not qualify for the Supplemental Unemployment Benefit Program (SUBP).

If you have questions, contact:

ConnectionPoint
 306-966-2000

Employers can implement temporary layoffs as part of their response to a public emergency during an order of the chief medical health officer or an emergency declaration by the Government of Saskatchewan. During this time, employers are not required to provide notice or pay instead of notice for layoffs that will occur for a maximum of 12 weeks in a 16-week period. A 16-week period may begin on the first day of the interruption of work.

During the layoff, employees are still considered employees but are able to immediately access supports being provided through provincial and federal programs.

For more information visit the Government of Saskatchewan website.

All access remains the same. You will be able to access your benefits as you normally do. This is subject change depending on the current situation.

If you have questions, contact:

ConnectionPoint
 306-966-2000

CAAT DBplus Pension Plan

The CAAT DBplus Pension Plan rules do not permit either employee or employer contributions while an employee is temporarily laid off. As such, employee pension contributions will not be deducted from your Supplemental Unemployment Benefit Program (SUBP) payments.

The Money Purchase, Research and Academic Pension Plan 

Employees will continue their participation in the university pension plans with any employee contributions to be deducted from the SUBP payment

The federal government has indicated that this income replacement benefit is taxable but they will not be withholding taxes at source.

Employees must be prepared to pay taxes at year-end on any amount received

Your service and seniority will continue without interruption during your temporary layoff

Employees continue to accrue vacation time, sick time and continuous service while temporarily laid off

Employees currently on disability leave who are provided notice of layoff will continue on disability. Should the employee be able to return to work, their layoff will commence on their scheduled return to work date.

For further questions, contact Wellness Resources for more information on how your disability benefits may be affected:

Wellness Resources
wellnessresources@usask.ca
(306) 966-4580

The Canadian Revenue Agency may verify CERB benefit claims. In cases where overpayments were made or an employee was ineligible, CRA may request repayment. You may want to contact CRA to confirm your eligibility.