Articles & Media


Why Bother With All These Forms For My Employees?

25-Jan-17

Consequences of Improper Administration of Employee Benefits

By Glenn Tait and Jessica Kruhlak

Throughout an employee’s time with an employer, there are many occasions where the employer will be required to have the employee complete forms or other documents for third parties, or where the employer must complete forms themselves for third parties. We have encountered employers who either delay or completely disregard these requirements. Failing to meet these requirements are risky and potentially costly oversights! Below we will identify the consequences for the employer if these documents are not completed, completed inaccurately, or are not completed in a timely manner.

When an employee commences their employment, the employer typically provides the employee with the documents necessary to enroll in the workplace health and benefit plan. But what if those forms are not provided or properly completed? In these circumstances, there are a number of cases that found the employer liable for the losses that an employee suffered when these documents were not completed. For example, employers have been liable for:

  • Compensating an employee for long term disability benefits when the employer did not enroll the employee in the long term disability plan.
  • Paying benefits to an employee that should have been received for the death of the employee’s spouse when the employer lost the employee’s enrollment forms for optional dependent life insurance.

The employer’s obligations do not end when the employee is hired. Employers have been required to pay all employee health claims where an employer did not properly deduct premium amounts from employee pay and send these amounts to the insurer, despite having been reminded several times to do so. Because the employee no longer had coverage for health claims, the employer was required to reimburse the employee for these amounts.

Similarly, employers are very likely liable when they do not inform employees of their rights to benefits, such as medical expense reimbursements, or long term disability benefits. Failing to provide employees with the forms necessary to apply for those benefits in a timely way can also expose an employer to liability.

There are other circumstances where an employer may be punished for failing to complete documentation. For example, a failure by an employer to complete a Workers’ Compensation Board (Workers’ Safety and Compensation Commission in the NWT and Nunavut) Report of Accident will result in the employer having to pay a fine, one which increases for each day that the report is late.

A failure by an employer to remit monies deducted from employees for income tax, CPP and EI premiums could result in the employer being assessed both penalties and fines. Similarly, an employer’s failure to file a Record of Employment within five days after the date the employee stopped working could also result in a fine.

While administrating employee benefits can be a tedious task, it is the employer’s obligation to do so with care and diligence. The failure to properly fulfill those obligations can result in serious consequences to the employer.

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