The Employer and the USFA have negotiated a settlement to the USFA grievance related to cell phone and home internet costs incurred by faculty when they were required to work from home during the COVID pandemic.
This recent grievance settlement will provide eligible employees with an opportunity as of November 15 and ending December 31, 2023, to withdraw from their current APEF account to help defray costs associated with working from home during the pandemic. The overall maximum withdrawal with this settlement is $4400.
The terms of the settlement are as follows:
1. Access to APEF balances to defray expenses associated with working remotely between March 23, 2020, and February 14, 2022, is available only to employees in-scope of the Association who meet the following eligibility criteria (“Eligible Employees”):
i) Employees must have performed assigned duties remotely from an off-campus location between March 23, 2020, and February 14, 2022;
ii) Employees must have performed some assigned duties remotely in each year (2020–21 and 2021–22) for which they claim expense reimbursement; and
iii) Employees must be employed with the university at the time the applicable eForm is submitted and at the time the payment is issued.
2. Provided their current available APEF balance is enough to cover the requested amount, eligible Employees can request up to the maximum of two years’ allocation (e.g. up to $4,400) from their APEF accounts to defray expenses associated with working remotely between March 23, 2020, and February 14, 2022. Eligible employees who previously received a one-time payment from APEF for this period as a result of the one-time taxable allocation from the APEF program offered by the Employer can receive only an amount equal to the difference between $4,400 and the amount already received.
3. Eligible Employees may submit the eForm to request these funds between November 15 and December 31, 2023. Forms that are not submitted within this period will not be considered.
4. Any payments made under this agreement is taxable income and subject to the same statutory deductions as regular pay, as per Canadian Revenue Agency regulations. Employees must ensure that their APEF balances are sufficient to cover the requested funds and all applicable statutory deductions (i.e. CPP, EI), including the employer portions of those statutory deductions. The payments will be disbursed by March 15, 2024, and attributed to the 2024 income tax year.
5. As the amounts received will be considered taxable income, receipts for expenditures are not required by the University and need not be provided.
6. Access to APEF balances permitted by this settlement is subject to available balances at the time requests are processed. If the available APEF balance is not sufficient to disburse the maximum amount allowable, only the available balance remaining in the account (not the total amount claimed) will be paid out. Any deficits to APEF accounts resulting from the application of the terms of this agreement are the responsibility of the employee.
To access these funds, complete the eForm in the USask Help and Services PAWS portal. There is no approval process and supporting documentation is not required. Any questions regarding submission of the eForm can be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
PLEASE NOTE THAT THERE IS A TIME LIMIT FOR MAKING THE APPLICATION NOVEMBER 15-DECEMBER 31 2023. APPLICATIONS SUBMITTED AFTER THE DECEMBER 31 DEADLINE ARE NOT ELIGIBLE.