Further Changes to Temporary Layoff Provisions
The BC provincial government recently announced a further change to the Employment Standards Act’s (“Act”) temporary layoff provisions. Previously, a temporary amendment to the Act extended the maximum length of a temporary layoff to 16 weeks in any 20 week period.
The maximum length of a temporary layoff related to COVID-19 has now been extended to 24 weeks, provided that the layoff ends on or before August 30, 2020. However, if a longer period is required, employers and employees can jointly apply for a variance to extend a temporary layoff beyond August 30th.
Employers seeking a variance must apply jointly with their employees. Employers must have the support of more than 50% of employees in order to apply, though proof of greater support is strongly recommended. For variance applications, employers should set a firm recall date that most closely aligns with their reasonable business plans to resume operations. Applications to extend a temporary layoff period past December 31, 2020 will only be approved in exceptional circumstances. Applications must be submitted by August 25th to be proceed before August 30, 2020.
All businesses that are grappling with making ends meet and supporting their employees are likely concerned with provisions that may allow them to extend temporary layoff periods. We will continue to monitor and update you on any pertinent legislative developments.