Applications Open for COVID-19 Temporary Layoff Variances

Have you laid off staff during COVID-19 and need to have them off work for longer than 13 weeks? Then you need to apply for a Temporary Layoff Variance by August 25th in order to get your approval in time.

In June, the provincial government extended the time period for temporary layoffs related to COVID-19 to a maximum of 24 weeks, from the regular 13 week time limit.  After this time, temporary layoffs are deemed to be terminations and employees are entitled to receive pay in lieu of notice and possible severance.

But this extension to 24 weeks expires August 30th and businesses with staff needing lay-offs of of longer than 13 weeks that will continue past August 30 will need to apply for a variance to continue with the temporary layoff.

Employers with plans to recall employees by a date that falls after August 30, 2020 can apply to extend the temporary layoff through a variance to the Act with the Employment Standards Branch

If  you have temporary layoffs that end before August 30, or that will not need to last longer than 13 weeks, you do not need to apply.

There are two steps to the application. Employers must:

  • Inform Employees of the Intention to Apply
    • This is a joint application. Before applying, you must make sure that the majority of affected employees are aware of the application and agree to continue to be temporarily laid-off from work.More than 50% of affected employees must approve the decision to apply for a variance and you must have documentation of this approval. If a majority decision is not reached, an employer cannot proceed with the application.
  • Apply Online Through the Portal