2020

May 25, 2020

Workforce reduction guidance and support

As we all navigate through these unprecedented times, your organization, like many, may be going through significant workforce challenges.  

As your Group Retirement Services provider, we’re here to support you and your employees.

If you are considering workforce reductions, the following will help you determine what option is right for your employees and your organization. Please consider the information below as you work with your HR and/or legal experts regarding the impact to your Sun Life plan members. The information is current as of April 28, 2020.

Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS)

Eligible employers, who suffer a drop in revenue when compared with a baseline revenue of at least 15% in March, and/or 30% in April and/or May 2020, could be eligible to apply for the wage subsidy. Your baseline revenue is either:

  • the revenue you earned in the corresponding month in 2019, or
  • the average of the revenue you earned in January and February, 2020.

Generally, the subsidy will cover up to 75% of wages to a maximum of $847 a week. At this time, the program will be in place for a 12-week period, from March 15 to June 6, 2020.

If you decide to move forward with the CEWS, you don’t need to make any changes to your employees’ status, as part of the record-keeping that Sun Life does for your group retirement savings plan. You can continue to submit contributions in the usual way. 

For more information about CEWS please visit the Government of Canada website. For other COVID-19 related topics, please visit our GRS COVID-19 website.

Temporary layoffs

If you’ve needed to temporarily reduce your workforce recently, or anticipate doing so in the near future, we’re here to help.

We strongly encourage you to consult with your HR and/or legal advisors to determine when you may discontinue GRS contributions on behalf of your employees.

In most cases, employers can suspend contributions for employees on temporary layoffs.

For sponsors who have an interface, a value of “L” can be provided on the file, to notify Sun Life of a layoff status for impacted employees. For sponsors who do not use demographic files and therefore don’t have the option to elect an employee status of “L”, please contact Sun Life by email with the status and effective date, and we can implement this manually. In both cases, please let us know which date the employee status must be set back to “A” – Active.

Employees can continue to count on us for support through the regular channels. 

Permanent Lay-Offs and/or Terminations

If you’re permanently reducing your workforce or anticipate doing so in the near future, we’re here to help you through this too. If you’re able to let us know ahead of time, we can provide a rapid response to help affected employees with their transition.

You can notify us by electing the employee status of “T” = Termination of Employment. These former employees will then receive a package, which outlines their termination options for their account balance. 

If your plan allows it, these former employees will also receive an email or a phone call to help support them through this challenging time. If you would like to take advantage of this free service for your employees, please reach out to your Sun Life Representative who will ensure that we activate this service immediately.

We’ve developed the attached communication so that impacted employees can contact us right away if they wish. We encourage you to share it with them.

We’re all in this together. Let us help take care of your employees, while you focus on your business.

For more information, please contact your Group Retirement Services representative.