EI and sickness leave info needed, please help!
October 10, 2008 1:28 PM   Subscribe

EI and sickness leave info needed, please help!

Hi, y'all. First off, let me admit I'm stupid, and really really fucked up. Bad kitty, no treats. Skip the details below and go directly to the question, if preferred.

Shortly after my last question, a crisis/opportunity came up at work (a small startup) that required batch data correction jobs to be coded and run nightly; I really needed the distraction at that time, and began working extremely odd hours - essentially, 15-hr days with naps between batch jobs.

This worked great for me through the end of July - I could schedule doctor's appointments, meetings with friends to get me out of the house... and reported directly to the COO. Our software was set to go live at the beginning of August, and I had booked the first two weeks of August off.

I came to notice that in addition to my vacation, every other senior staff member had also booked the same two weeks off. I brought it to management's attention, and offered to stay the two weeks and try to keep the app stable, with the full understanding that I'd be able to take that time off immediately after.

I was really trying to hold it together, but of course, all hell broke loose. The COO quit. We have no project management, so customers would call the owner directly threatening hellfire - meaning I'd be asked to drop what I'm doing NOW and fix this new problem NOW! We also have no network administrator, and were trying to track down causes of network storms and dropped connections in addition to all that. I was still on the same hours, and starting to suffer from severe sleep deprivation. My vacation was not happening: we need to fix everything now or the company will go under OMG BIG FIRE!!!

Then, as the hours really prevented me from being in the office too often (I'd essentially be coordinating OMG FIRE!! plans directly with the senior development team to make sure we wouldn't be duplicating the same work) - the decidedly nontechnical management that were left decided that as I'm not in the office, I must not "do anything", "have no visibility", and "don't let the right hand know what the left is doing".

As you can imagine, the hours, lack of sleep and absolute insanity turned me into a frothy, raging bitch - and I finally lost my shit completely, went on med leave on the 29th.

There's no short-term disability coverage with our group insurance plan, so I applied for EI. The company is not providing my record of employment, nor confirming how many vacation days I had left (I was told they only have a bookkeeper in once a month, but they're "trying to get to it sooner").

Um, so my question:
In Ontario, is there anything else to do besides reporting to EI a company's noncompliance in providing your Record of Employment and number of vacation days when you're applying for sickness benefits? I can't work right now, and with EI at least I'd know I could still pay my bills - I've never been on any kind of EI before, I don't know how to do this.
posted by grippycat to Law & Government (8 answers total)
Have you tried calling the EI people for advice?
posted by girlpublisher at 2:12 PM on October 10, 2008

Response by poster: Yep, EI's called my company, no Record of Employment yet. This is two weeks out of work now, and I can't get my EI approved, or a record of vacation days owed. I'm really kind of losing it - do I just wait and hope that things turn out? Is there anything kind of proactive I can do to help?
posted by grippycat at 3:30 PM on October 10, 2008

I wish I knew more and could help you out, but all I can say is: I'm routing for you, and I'm in the general neighbourhood, and we should hang out sometime. A sanity check, perhaps. :)
posted by Hildegarde at 3:47 PM on October 10, 2008

Best answer:
Who in the company knows what you did for them? Head of the development team? Find someone in senior management and call them up and say "Look, after all I did for you, the least you guys owe me is to provide my basic paperwork. I'm really up a creek without it." See if they will take your side and provide some push from inside the company.

Another thought: Can you use old paystubs and tax records to show how long you worked there? My pay slips used to show accrued vacation and sick days as well but I'm guessing this company wouldn't have done that? There must a procedure for when the company doesn't cooperate.
posted by metahawk at 6:12 PM on October 10, 2008

Only way to deal with a situation like this is through the labour board, as this is a labour issue. Legally, a company is obligated to provide a ROE to you within 2 weeks. Of course, if you go that route you will pretty much burn your bridge with your employer.
posted by scarello at 6:12 PM on October 10, 2008

One thing you should not worry about is not getting the benefits you are owed if they continue dragging their heels in providing the ROE.

Your two week waiting period which you don't get EI for is over now. You will still get the benefits for the upcoming time even though your claim hasn't started yet.
posted by davey_darling at 8:22 PM on October 10, 2008

In Manitoba, we've got something called a Community Unemployed Help Centre. They advise and advocate for people dealing with EI. The closest equivalent I can find for Toronto is the Metro Labour Education Centre. Perhaps they can provide or direct you to an advocate to get the EI people working harder on the ROE issue.
posted by teg at 11:44 PM on October 10, 2008

Best answer: Hullo to any future googlers/searchers from the future! davey_darling unfortunately proved to be wrong; I'm still Record of Employment-less and Employment Insurance-less.

Without a RoE, even when EI has been notified that your employer is noncompliant, your claim will sit in unapproved limbo and you will receive no EI payments.

If you are stuck in my particular kind of hell, I've been advised that EI can issue an interim decision on a contested EI application where the company refuses to provide an RoE: you have to provide, in person, a minimum of 6 months of paystubs (although one year's worth is the ideal). EI will only issue benefits with an interim or final decision.

I'm off to the local EI office tomorrow morning, armed with a year and a half's worth of paystubs (and believe me, the idea of being out of the house is going to be shaky, weepy hell). MeFites of the present and future, wish me luck - without this, I don't exactly know how I can pay my mortgage :(
posted by grippycat at 8:18 PM on October 20, 2008

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