COVID-19 Response – Additional Employer Relief Measures (ADM POL 05/2020)

(PDF version)

Effective Date: January 1, 2020
Application: Applies to all employer account on or after the effective date and end as determined by WCB.
Purpose: To implement additional employer relief measures during the COVID-19 situation.

BACKGROUND

  1. The Workers’ Compensation Act, 2013 (the “Act”) requires employers to annually prepare and submit to the Workers’ Compensation Board (WCB), an employer payroll statement (EPS) to report the employer’s actual payroll for their workers covered under the Act from the previous year and the estimated payroll for the current year (Sections 122, 136, 137).
  2. The Act and The Workers’ Compensation General Regulations, 1985 (the “General Regulations”) authorize the Workers’ Compensation Board (WCB) to charge penalties and interest to employers who fail to register their business, provide payroll information, or remit premiums promptly. All penalties and interest are due within 30 days.
  3. The EPS must be submitted on or before February 28 of each year (General Regulations 3).
    1. Late Filing Penalty: When an employer fails to submit an EPS as required, the WCB will estimate the employer’s payroll to calculate the assessment and a late filing penalty will be applied. The penalty will be based on 5% of the assessment for the prior year and will increase 5% per month, but will not exceed a total of 15% or $500 (General Regulations 3).
    2. Late Registration Penalty: An employer in a mandatory industry is required to register with the WCB within 30 calendar days of commencing or recommencing a business (General Regulations 4). If registration is not received as required, the employer may be
      assessed an additional 5% of their premium assessed (General Regulations 4). This penalty will not be less than $5, nor greater than $500 for each year of non-compliance (General Regulations 5).
  4. Assessments are due within 30 days from the date of an employer’s statement of account (SOA) (Section 141 and General Regulations 6).
    1. Default in Assessment Payment Interest: When an employer fails to pay an assessment when it is due, the WCB is authorized to apply a penalty (Section 152 and General Regulations 8). Effective January 1, 2020, this penalty is equal to 8% (PRO 12/2019, Default in Assessment Payment).
  5. If an employer underestimates their payroll by more than 50%, WCB will adjust their premiums and may charge penalties (General Regulations 9).
    1. Underestimated Payroll Penalty: An underestimate penalty will apply when the actual payroll reported on the annual EPS exceeds the last reported estimate by more than 50%. The amount of the underestimate penalty is equal to 6% of the difference between:
      1. The assessment on the actual payroll, and
      2. The assessment on the estimated payroll.

POLICY

  1. To help alleviate cash flow concerns for Saskatchewan employers during the COVID-19 situation, the WCB is implementing additional employer relief measures.
  2. Through ADM POL 02/2020, COVID-19 – Employer Relief Measures, the penalty for defaulting employers was waived until June 30, 2020.
    1. This waiver will be extended to July 31, 2020 and may be extended additional months if WCB determines that the COVID-19 situation continues to affect the majority of Saskatchewan employers.
    2. This extension will also apply to the:
      1. Provision of clearance letters for employers that meet specific criteria, even in cases where the contractor’s WCB account is not in good standing.
      2. Prioritization of payroll revisions to help employers reduce their premiums based on the impact of the work slowdown resulting from the COVID-19 situation.
      3. Suspension of payroll audits except in situations where an employer may be eligible for a refund.
    3. Any further extensions approved will be communicated to employers on the WCB website and will identify the next date that interest will be charged.
  3. To provide further relief for employers, the WCB is waiving the following penalties applied, or that would apply, in 2020:
    1. Late filing of employer payroll statements (EPS).
    2. Late registration penalties.
    3. Underestimated payroll penalties.
  4. WCB is also offering pre-authorized payment plans for employers who would benefit from consistent monthly payments. If the employer is eligible, approved payment plans for 2020 premiums may extend into 2021.
  5. The WCB will continue implementing the following initiatives, approved through ADM POL 02/2020:
    1. Prioritize payroll revisions to help employers reduce their premiums.
    2. Forgive interest for late payments applied in March.
    3. Suspend payroll audits until further notice except in situations where an employer is eligible for a refund. .
Effective Date January 1, 2020
Approved Date June 15, 2020
Legislative Authority The Workers’ Compensation Act, 2013
Sections 20, 122, 123, 131, 141, 152The Workers’ Compensation General Regulations, 1985
Sections 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, 9
Document History (1) n/a; new temporary ADM policy.
Complements POL 11/2011                                       Employer Coverage and Registration
POL 09/2011                                      Failure to Register a Business
PRO 12/2019                                      Default in Assessment Payment
POL 22/2014                                      Clearances and Letters of Good Standing
POL 03/2019                                      Under and Overestimating Payroll – Penalties and Credits
ADM POL 02/2020                          COVID-19 Response – Employer Relief Measures
ADM POL 03/2020                          COVID-19 Response – Benefits When a Return to Work (RTW) Plan is Interrupted
ADM POL 04/2020                          COVID-19 Response – Employer Relief Measures – Claim Cost Relief