Business Payrolls Survey during COVID-19


COVID-19 (coronavirus) is a respiratory illness that has been spreading globally since January 2020, and was declared a pandemic by the W.H.O (World Health Organization) in March.

As a result, governments - of all levels – in Canada and abroad have made recommendations and mandated restrictions in the interest of public health.

The impact that COVID-19 is having on business' operations will likely be seen in the data that is received for the Business Payrolls Survey starting with March reference month.

This reporting guide will help businesses respond in the current economic environment.

Reference periods

Please report for your last pay period of the reference month. In the context of COVID-19, this will still be the case.

Total number of employees

From the BPS, "How many employees received pay for work performed and employer paid absence for the last pay period?"

In the context of COVID-19, employers should report all employees who were paid, regardless of whether or not they worked.  Employees that were laid off or that didn't get paid should not be reported.

Examples of who would be included are teachers, some government employees, employees who were not working due to COVID-19 but were still paid by their employer.

Total pay

From the BPS, "For these employees, what was the regular gross pay payable including overtime for the last pay period?"

In the context of COVID-19, total pay should be reported as usual - all regular gross pay payable, for employees working or not.

Total hours

There are 2 different questions for the hours in the BPS.

For hourly employees, from the BPS, "Total hours payable including overtime worked for the last pay period". In the context of COVID-19, total hours should be reported as usual.

For salaried employees, teachers and non-teachers, from the BPS, "Average number of weekly scheduled working hours of the last pay period." In the context of COVID-19, average number of weekly hours should be reported as usual.

Frequently asked questions

Which employees should be included?

Anyone who was paid, including those who did not work.

Do I report regular hours or actual hours?

For hourly employees, report the total number of hours payable. That is, the number of hours for which employees were paid, regardless of whether they were able to work or not. For salaried employees, report the regular average weekly hours.

I closed my operations mid-March as ordered to by the government, and have paid my employees 25% of their salaries in my last pay period in March, while waiting for the government to provide the remaining 75%, as per the wage subsidy. How do I report this?

Report only the 25% pay as the subsidy will not be paid yet. The reported hours paid for the employees should be reduced to 25% as well. Report all employees who were paid.

My business is currently closed due to the COVID-19. Do I have to complete the questionnaire?

Yes, all businesses currently or temporarily closed due to the COVID-19 must complete the questionnaire. The survey collects payroll information related to your last pay period of the previous month.  It is important to have a complete picture of your situation at that time.

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