An employee number is given to an employee from their employer to help identify them within the company.
Want to know more? Keep reading to find out how an employee number in Canada works and why you sometimes need one.
When new employees start work at a company, they may be assigned an employee number for tracking purposes. The number is usually used for payroll purposes or other human resource tasks.
Employee numbers aren’t required in Canada, but some companies, especially larger ones, use this process to stay organized. Generally, small companies don’t need to assign employee numbers because it isn’t very hard to mix up only a handful of company workers.
On the other hand, at larger corporations, employee numbers can make any task more streamlined. For example, consider if two employees have the same first initial and last name.
In a case like that, it could be easy to confuse the employees during a payroll run if your company only uses names as a way to identify their workers.
If your employer uses employee numbers, they will be the ones to create one for you. Usually, the payroll or human resource department will be the ones to assign you a number upon hire.
Of course, every company is different, and the number may come from a supervisor or even an owner.
When you start a new job, your employer will ask you for your Social Insurance Number. Is this the same thing as your employee number?
It isn’t. As noted before, the employee number is something assigned in-house. Your Social Insurance Number (SIN) allows you to work and access government programs and benefits within Canada. It’s a nine-digit number that you’ll also use to file your taxes.
SINs are unique and assigned to only one individual. The majority of citizens will receive them upon birth, but if you are a temporary citizen, you can apply for one.
Temporary citizens include foreign students and those on work visas. To work within the country, they’ll need a Social Insurance Number.
Unlike citizens or permanent residents, temporary citizens get a SIN card with an expiration date. The card is not valid if an expiry date isn’t listed or it’s passed. Temporary SINs always start with a “9,” making them easily identifiable.
Your SIN does not prove your identity, so if a business asks for it for that reason, you may want to think twice.
Instead, your employer may request it after hiring you. In addition, you will need it to complete your tax return, open an interest-bearing bank account, or access government programs and benefits.
On the flip side, you do not need to provide your SIN to rent a property or open a credit card. Many banking transactions don’t require your SIN – tasks like applying for a mortgage, line of credit, or other loans are just a few.
In the wrong hands, someone taking your SIN can lead to identity theft, a loss of government benefits or a dismal credit rating. In extreme situations, someone could use your SIN to work illegally, leaving you the burden to pay income tax on the money you never even earned.
To help avoid these situations, don’t carry your SIN card on you. Instead, leave it in a safe spot in your house. In addition, don’t give out your card number as an identifying piece of information. You should only provide it in situations where you know it’s legally required.
Employee numbers are used by businesses to help identify and track their employees. They mainly use them for payroll and other human resource tasks.
Many times, an employee number gets confused with a Social Insurance Number. SINs let you work within Canada and have access to government programs and benefits.
Employee numbers and Social Insurance Numbers are just two important digits you need to know. However, there is even more you should probably know. For example, do you know about civic numbers? If not, check out this recent article on the topic.