Workers and employers who need to extend temporary layoffs beyond the Aug. 30, 2020, expiry date are reminded to apply for a variance using the Employment Standards Branch’s new online application by Aug. 25.
“I urge any employers who think they need to extend temporary staff layoffs further, to please read the information we have online and reach out if you have any questions,” said Harry Bains, Minister of Labour. “We have made the application process simple and easy to use and there are ministry staff available to help guide an employer through the process or answer any questions.”
In July 2020, the Ministry of Labour launched a simplified variance application process to help businesses navigate the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic more easily.
Employers are encouraged to apply as soon as possible. An application deadline is set for Aug. 25, 2020, for workers and employers to jointly apply for an extension, to ensure that all applications will be processed by the Aug. 30 expiry date.
“As one of the first employers to use the new online tool, I very much appreciated having the support of staff to guide me through the process,” said Stan Walt of Chances Kelowna. “The variance application has been easy to use and easy to understand. I feel well supported as we plan our path to economic recovery.”
The new two-step online application simplifies and streamlines the process for employers and workers to jointly apply for an extension by allowing documents and signatures to be submitted electronically.
First, employers must reach out to their workforce to ensure they have more than 50% support from workers before applying. Workers will receive information about the variance, including their rights under the Employment Standards Act, and will be able to voice their support using the online tool. Once worker support is documented, employers can complete the online form and submit directly to the Employment Standards Branch.
Under B.C.’s Employment Standards Act, temporary layoffs related to COVID-19 can last up to 24 weeks, or until Aug. 30, 2020, before the layoff becomes permanent. Government encourages employers to submit their variance applications now to avoid permanent staff layoffs and compensation for length of service to eligible workers upon the expiry of the COVID-19 emergency layoff period Aug. 30.
BC’s Restart Plan is supporting business to safely reopen and get people back to work. Employers are also encouraged to make use of the federal wage subsidy to assist them in bringing workers back.
Visit the updated website for temporary layoff variance applications: www.gov.bc.ca/covidlayoffs
For information on employment standards around temporary layoffs, visit: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/employment-business/employment-standards-advice/employment-standards/hours/variances