If you employ reservists in your small business or are a reservist yourself, you must offer employees benefits that include job protection, but you probably didn’t know that you can get compensation for some of the expenses you incur as a result of deployment.
All 10 provinces and three territories have enacted job protection legislation for reservists when they get deployed, and no two pieces of legislation are alike. They all provide that deployment time is without pay, and they all specify a minimum deployment time that applies, for example. Most laws allow you to provide "top off" pay that compensates reservists for the difference between military and civilian pay. But the government has a program to compensate employers for some of the costs associated with retaining deployed reservists.
The Compensation for Employers of Reservists Program (CERP) reimburses civilian employers and self-employed reservists for some of the costs they incur when the reservist gets deployed. Employers must meet several criteria to qualify for benefits under CERP. The reservist employee must:
- Deploy on an operation named by the Chief of the Defence Staff
- Be away from work for a minimum of 30 days to a maximum of 18 months, including pre- and post-deployment time
- Have worked at least 30 hours per week for the same employer for a minimum of three consecutive months before deployment
- Show that their business is legitimate and has been viable before the deployment for three consecutive months, if self-employed
If you meet the eligibility requirements, you can qualify for a one-time lump sum payment to reimburse you for costs associated with losing the reservist while they are deployed. These costs may include:
- Finding, hiring, and training replacement workers
- Overtime for existing employees to make up for the reservist’s work
- Business realignment to soften the impact of missing staff
- Lost income due to the reservist’s leave
- Lump sum payment in the form of a grant at the end of the reservist’s deployment period for those qualified
To get started, head over to the Employment and Social Development Canada site to learn more about the program. Then, download the Compensation for Employers of Reservists Program application that you can submit to Service Canada at the end of the deployment period.