Breaking Employment Law Update: Ontario’s Temporary Layoff Rules Extended until January 2, 2021.

On September 3, 2020, the Ontario government announced further amendments to extend the maximum periods of temporary layoffs to January 2, 2021, before they could be deemed to be terminations under the Employment Standards Act, 2000.

As you were likely already aware, September 4th was the date on which employers had to reinstate these employees to full capacity, failing which they would be deemed to be dismissed in the case of employees on a temporary lay-off or constructively dismissed in the case of employees who are working reduced hours (assuming the employees would not agree to continue to be laid-off or to work reduced hours). That is because under the pre-pandemic legislation, where a contract allowed for a temporary layoff, such a lay off would generally be deemed a termination after:

  • 13 weeks, if no payments or benefits are continued;
  • 35 weeks, if certain payments or benefits are continued; or
  • for such longer period that an employee retains recall rights under any applicable collective agreement.

The Ontario government had introduced legislation that suspended those normal rules regarding temporary lay offs beyond the regular limits, which was set to expire September 4, but this has now been extended to January 2, 2021. The idea behind this remains to avoid costly termination and severance entitlements to be triggered, which could be crucial to survival for many businesses.

IDEL for Parents:

The Ontario Government has also announced the extension of the job protected Infectious Disease Emergency Leave to parents who feel it is unsafe to return their children to school.

We Are Here to Help

We are closely monitoring the changings in the legal landscape and remain here to help keep you informed. If you have questions or concerns about your particular requirements in these rapidly changing times, please do not hesitate to reach out to a member of our employment law team and we can setup a time to go over your particular needs at your convenience.