September 4, 2020
In our June 3, 2020 Blog titled O. Reg. 228/20- Ontario Government Effort to Avoid Deemed Terminations and the Onslaught of Constructive Dismissal Claims Under the ESA, we provided you with details of a critical amendment to the Employment Standards Act, 2000(“ESA“), which prevented temporary layoffs due to COVID-19 from automatically becoming a permanent job loss.
As of September 3, 2020, this legislative amendment to the ESA has been extended until January 2, 2021 to help give businesses more time to reopen and return to full operations. This measure is significant for employers in that under Ontario employment law a temporary layoff of more than 13 weeks could amount to a termination of employment triggering costly severance payouts that could be the difference in a business being able to stay operable and gradually reopen.
A couple of key reminders:
- This measure does not apply to employees represented by a trade union. The government encourages parties in collective bargaining relationships to work together to resolve workplace issues.
- Employees at workplaces that have fully reopened continue to have job protection through the Infectious Disease Emergency Leave if they need to stay home to isolate or quarantine or take care of a loved one due to COVID-19. This includes parents who decide not to send their children back to school due to concerns about COVID-19.