Update on R&R Bonus

Retention and Recruitment Bonus

The new Retention and Recruit bonus (R&R) is rolling out across the province and SBO is working to create a smoother transition so that next year, the rules are clear and there are fewer questions. This year, the process wasn’t clear from the beginning and we have been busy advocating for change for the last six months.

The eligibility criteria for the program have changed and each consortia appears to be adopting different rules and the application of the bonus is different in each area as well.  Drivers must still have a valid driver’s license to drive a school bus and must be employed as a school bus driver to be eligible.  But much has changed:

  • There are no more exception application forms for drivers.  This means if a driver has a legitimate reason for missing work, such as an illness or injury, they may not be eligible for the bonus.  Each region is applying this rule differently.
  • The payments are based upon routes, not individual drivers (most areas.)
  • Some consortia are pro rating the bonus to a daily rate; drivers who show up and drive the assigned route receive the pro rated amount each pay.
  • Some consortia are paying the bonus in installments of $800 for the September to December period and $1,200 for the January to June period. Others are keeping the same $1,000 and $1,000 for each pay period.
  • Payroll deductions to cover EI, CPP, WSIB, etc.,  are being flowed through to operators. Deductions at source result in an overall lower amount being received by drivers when the bonus is paid out; but, once taxes are completed each year, reconciliation will occur.  Drivers need to be made aware of this.

Please let us know if there are any issue that remain outstanding with the R&R – this is very important for our advocacy.