We previously posted about considerations for employers considering COVID-19 related layoffs. See our post here.
On May 4, 2020, the B.C. government further amended the Employment Standards Act to extend the temporary layoff period from 13 weeks in a 20 week period to 16 weeks in a 20 week period if an employee is laid off and COVID-19 is a “cause of all or part of the layoff”.
The extension from 13 weeks to 16 weeks is intended to align the temporary layoff period with the 16 week period provided for financial support available under the federal Canada Emergency Response Benefit (or CERB). This extension is temporary and will end when it is no longer necessary.
As noted in our previous post, employers can only avail themselves of these temporary layoff provisions if: (1) they are provided for in the employment contract; (2) if they are customary in the industry; or (3) if the employee agrees.
Importantly, the employer will be deemed to have terminated the employee if the layoff lasts longer than 16 weeks, thereby triggering termination obligations to provide notice and/or severance, depending on the employment agreement.
For more information about these government programs or to see how we can help you navigate the complex legal issues arising from COVID-19, please contact Jordanna Cytrynbaum.
For more details on this temporary extension click here.
Read the legislative amendment here.