On June 25, 2020, the B.C. government extended the temporary layoff period in the Employment Standards Act from 16 weeks to a maximum of 24 weeks expiring on August 30, 2020 in relation to layoffs where COVID-19 is a “cause of all or part of the layoff”. The timeline of this extension is aligned with the extension of the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) from 16 to 24 weeks, ending August 29, 2020.
This further amendment comes more than a month after the B.C. government’s earlier amendments to the Employment Standards Act on May 4, 2020 that 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”. See our earlier post here.
As noted in our earlier post on the subject, the temporary layoff provisions do not apply to every employment relationship, and can only be invoked when the contract of employment permits temporary layoffs, the parties agree, or it is implicit in a particular industry. See our earlier post here.
In the event a further extension of the temporary layoff beyond August 30, 2020 is considered necessary in the context of a particular employment relationship, the employer and the employee can make a joint application to the Employment Standards Branch to seek a variance of the time period of a temporary layoff pursuant to section 72 of the Employment Standards Act.
To apply for a further extension beyond August 30, 2020 under s.72, the application must state the following:
(a) the provision of the act the director is requested to vary;
(b) the variance requested;
(c) the duration of the variance;
(d) the reason for requesting the variance;
(e) the employer’s name, address and telephone number; and
(f) the name and home phone number of each employee who signs the letter.
The application form for variance under s.72 can be found here.
Read the B.C. government’s press release here.