The disability program aims to create an environment of wellness and engagement through awareness and acceptance of any health challenges. The program also aims to support health and wellness promotion and to have excellent attendance and engagement.
The ELCIC Group Benefits Plan provides both short-term disability and long-term disability benefits to plan members with supported claims.
We invite you to refer to the Short-term Disability Policy plan document for detailed information on the terms and conditions of the plan.
As well, you may download the Short-term Disability Employer Guide for an overview of your role and tools for managing the absence.
Waiting period – two weeks
When your employee becomes ill, disabled or requires time off for surgery, the first two weeks are managed in accordance with the ELCIC Sick Leave Policy. (see the previous tab or Compensation Guidelines)
When it becomes apparent that your employee will be unable to return to work after two weeks from the initial absence, please notify GSI immediately.
Short Term Disability – next 15 weeks
Process and Forms
Once you (the congregation/employer) have advised GSI of your employee’s prolonged absence, both you and your employee will be contacted by Windley Ely, an independent disability management firm. Windley Ely will explain the STD program and answer your questions. They will also get preliminary information about the claim and provide you with any forms that will need to be completed. Your completed forms should be submitted directly to Windley Ely.
Payment and Funding of STD Benefit Amount
At the end of the two week waiting period, the congregation/employer should suspend payroll until the claim is approved.
Upon notice of approval, the congregation/employer will be responsible to pay the employee the disability benefit amount, which is calculated as 70% of their Salary Basis (salary & housing allowance). Please continue your regular payroll process to make the required statutory withholdings and remittances on the new amount. GSI will reimburse the congregation/employer for the STD benefit amount. GSI will require a copy of the payroll register or pay stub with the pay period clearly indicated to process the reimbursement.
If the claim is not approved and the employee returns to work, resume normal payroll.
Note that the employee may appeal the claim or it may take more time to obtain all the supporting documentation. Please contact GSI to discuss payroll requirements during this time.
Pension and Benefits
The employee 7% pension contribution (on the disability benefit amount) must be withheld and remitted to GSI together with the congregation/employer 8% pension contribution. GSI will adjust your invoice accordingly.
You (the congregation/employer) will continue to be responsible for the ELCIC Group Benefit Plan premiums during the short-term disability period based on the pre-disability Salary Basis, which will appear on your monthly invoice.
Note that pension contributions and benefit premiums are not insured and will not be reimbursed during the STD period.
Additional Income to Employees while in receipt of Short-Term Disability payments
The congregation/employer is permitted to pay their employee up to 100% of their pre-disability salary, however only 70% of the pre-disability salary will be reimbursed by GSI.
Pension contributions are required on the amount of actual salary paid and GSI should be advised of the actual amount in order to invoice correctly. The congregation/employer is already remitting all benefits premiums based on the pre-disability Salary Basis during the short-term period, so any additional amount does not change that.
Please note: Any pay above 70% while an employee is approved for STD is completely at the discretion of the congregation/employer.
Additional income during the Long-Term Disability period is not permitted.
Long-Term Disability – 17 weeks and beyond
If the employee continues to be sick or disabled after 17 weeks, Windley Ely will assist in transitioning the case to long-term disability with Manulife Financial. Transition steps will begin several weeks ahead of STD ending.
Salary amounts, pension contributions and benefit premiums are not required from the congregation/employer during the long-term disability period. The Co-operators and GSI will continue to communicate with you should your employee be able to return to work or participate in a rehabilitation program.