To ease financial hardship on businesses and to keep employees connected with their jobs during the COVID-19 pandemic, government has extended the temporary layoff period to 16 weeks for COVID-19 related reasons.
Previously under the Employment Standards Act, a temporary layoff longer than 13 weeks in any 20-week period (or about three months in a five-month period) was considered a permanent layoff. With a permanent layoff, employers are required to provide employees with written working notice of termination and/or pay severance to qualifying employees, based on their length of service. Now, temporary layoffs relating to the COVID-19 pandemic can be extended to 16 weeks, if the employee agrees.
This change to the Employment Standards Act aligns B.C.’s temporary layoff provisions with the federal Canada Emergency Response Benefit period. The federal period provides 16 weeks of financial support, allowing employees to take full advantage of those benefits.
It also allows employees to keep their job, even if they are not working, for 16 weeks of temporary layoff. Employers will be able to quickly resume operations should the public health emergency end within that time.
The COVID-19 emergency temporary layoff provisions are not intended to be permanent and will be repealed when no longer needed.
For information on employment standards around temporary layoffs, visit: www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/employment-business/employment-standards-advice/employment-standards/termination#laying-off
For the latest medical updates, including case counts, prevention, risks and testing, visit: www.bccdc.ca
Or follow @CDCofBC on Twitter
For the provincial health officer’s orders, notices and guidance, visit: www.gov.bc.ca/phoguidance
For non-health related information, including financial, child care and education supports, travel, transportation and essential service information, visit: www.gov.bc.ca/Covid-19
Or call 1 888 COVID19 (1 888 268-4319) between 7:30 a.m. and 8 p.m. (Pacific time), seven days a week.
For a Chinese translation, visit: https://news.gov.bc.ca/files/2020.05.04_IB_Layoff_Provisions-TC.pdf
For a Punjabi translation, visit: https://news.gov.bc.ca/files/2020.05.04_IB_Layoff_Provisions-Punjabi.pdf