No Guarantee of a reasonable job offer – opting employees

If your services will no longer be required beyond a specific date and the deputy head does not see the likelihood of employment for you in the public service, you will receive a written notice that you are an opting employee (1.1.6). This means you are not guaranteed a reasonable job offer within the public service. Your home department, however, must give you assistance in finding new employment, either inside or outside the public service.

The department will advise the Public Service Commission of their recommendation and you and your PSAC Component will be copied on this correspondence (1.1.10 & 1.1.11).

As an opting employee, you must choose one of three options within 120 calendar days of being advised of your status (6.1.2). Once you have advised the department of your choice in writing, you cannot change it (6.1.3). If you don't select or don't select within the 120 days, you will be considered to have selected option (a) (6.1.4).

(a). Limited Surplus Status

With this option, you become a surplus employee withsurplus priority status, but only for a 12 month period. This means you get the same rights as a surplus employee for that period, including that you can be appointed to a position for which you are qualified before other public service employees without having to compete or be concerned about the appointment being appealed (definitions.). (SeeGuarantee of a reasonable job offer - surplus employees fact sheet.) If you chose this option early in the opting period, your surplus period of one year will be extended by up to 120 days.

You will continue to be paid while you are surplus until the date you are laid off or choose to resign from the public service.

Your home department must make every reasonable effort to market you within your preferred area of mobility during this period, but if you don't receive a reasonable job offer within that period, you will be laid off.

If you resign, you will be considered involuntarily laid off on the day the employer accepts your resignation in writing for the purposes of severance pay and retroactive remuneration (1.1.37)

If you resign before the 12 months is up, you may be eligible to receive a lump sum payment covering your pay for the remainder of the surplus period, up to a maximum of six months. The payment will only be made if your work can be discontinued (6.3.9). This amount cannot be larger than what you would have received by selecting option (b). If you accept this sum, you lose any priority rights for appointment (6.3.4). You are not eligible for this lump sum payment if you refuse a reasonable job offer during the 12 month period (6.3.10). This amount is at the discretion of management, but shall not be unreasonably denied (6.3.11)

(b). Transition Support Measure

This option gives you a cash payment for a certain number of weeks pay, based on your years of service (6.3.1b.) Annex B of the WFAA in your collective agreement provides the method for calculating this amount. Note that the maximum number of weeks pay you can receive is 52 weeks.

If you select this option, you must resign, but your resignation will be considered a lay-off when your severance pay is calculated.

The department establishes your departure date (6.3.2) and you do not have any priority rights for appointment under this option (6.3.4).

How are years of service defined for the calculation of the transition support measure (TSM)?

The Definitions section of the WFA Appendix states: "The transition support measure is a cash payment based on the employee's years of continuous employment."

In our collective agreements, “continuous employment” is defined by reference to the Public Service Terms and Conditions of Employment Policy (now the “Directive on Terms and Conditions of Employment”). For indeterminate full-time employees, continuous employment includes your current period of employment as well as several forms of previous employment, provided that these are not separated by more than three months.

Note that Annex B of the WFA Appendix states: "For indeterminate seasonal and part-time employees, the TSM will be pro-rated in the same manner as severance pay under the terms of this Agreement."

For information about how the service is pro-rated, and more details about how continuous employment is defined see Questions and answers on severance

(c). Education Allowance

This option gives you the cash payment of option B, plus up to $10,000 for reimbursement of receipted educational expenses (e.g., tuition, books, mandatory equipment). If you choose this option, you can proceed in one of two ways (6.3.1c.). In either case, the department establishes your departure date (6.3.2).

  1. Resign. You will be considered laid off for severance purposes and you will not have any priority rights for appointment (6.3.4).
  2. Go on leave without pay for a maximum of two years, providing your employer with proof of registration at a learning institute. The education allowance can be made in either one or two lump sum payments over the two year period. This allows you to continue your membership in public service benefit plans, including superannuation, although you pay both the employee and employer shares. If you do not provide the department with proof of your registration within 12 months of the leave beginning, you will be considered to have resigned, although it will be considered a lay-off in terms of severance pay (6.3.5). At the end of the two years leave without pay, unless you have found alternate employment in the public service, you will be laid off.

What type of studies can I take with the Education Allowance?

The collective agreement does not limit the type or duration of your studies for purposes of the Education Allowance. You can attend school full-time or part-time, and you can attend any “recognized learning institution” (a college, university, CEGEP, any provincially recognized school board, or certified private educational institution). You are also eligible to attend a recognized learning institution in another country as well.

List of Recognized Learning Institutions:

The definition of “recognized institution” is governed by provincial/territorial income tax acts and the Canadian Information Centre for International Credentials (CICIC). The CICIC has aDirectory of Universities, Colleges and Schools in the Provinces and Territories of Canada

Human Resources and Skills Development Canada also has a list of CEGEPs, Colleges and Universities and Private Educational Institutions

Is the WFA education allowance taxable?

According to the Income Tax Act, the education allowance is subject to income tax, CPP/QPP and EI. The education allowance is paid through the pay system and is taxed at source. This information will be included on your T4 form.

Example: If you submit a $5000 receipt to your manager for reimbursement, you will receive the $5000 less the applicable income tax, CPP/QPP and EI premiums. Note however that tuition, books and other expenses may be tax deductable when you file your annual return.

For more information about tax implications and deductions, speak with your Compensation Advisor or consult the Canada Revenue Agency.

As well, since all opting employees are eligible to receive up to $600 for financial planning advice (WFAA section 6.3.6), PSAC recommends that you seek advice

All opting employees are eligible to receive up to $600 for financial planning advice (6.3.6).

If a reasonable job offer which does not require relocation is made during the 120 day opting period and prior to acceptance of option B. or C., you are not eligible for pay in lieu of unfulfilled surplus period (see option A.), the transition support measure (option B.), or theeducation allowance (option C.) (6.1.5).

If you receive lump sum payments for any of the above options and you are re-hired within the period covered by the payment, you will have to repay a pro-rated amounted of the money (6.3.7). If you return to the federal government prior to the completion of an educational program (under option C.) and your tuition and related costs cannot be reimbursed, you do not have to repay the Education Allowance (6.3.8).

The pay in lieu of unfulfilled surplus period (see option A.), the transition support measure(option B.), or the education allowance (option C.) cannot be combined with any other payment under the WFAA (6.3.3). However, severance pay and other benefits flowing from other clauses in your collective agreement are separate from and in addition to those in the WFAA (1.1.36).

The department is required to provide you with an individual counselor to help you assess your situation (1.1.34 - see Getting Help fact sheet).

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September 17, 2013
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