Extension of Temporary Layoffs to 24 Weeks
Many employers have been worried about the status of their employees who are still on temporary layoff. The original permitted layoff duration was 13 weeks. It was then extended to 16 weeks until June 25, 2020 at which time the time period was extended again to 24 weeks until August 30, 2020.
This is good news for employers assessing their potential exposure to severance pay claims of employees.
A word of caution though, as common law lay-offs can be considered to be a constructive dismissal no matter what the legislation provides. While the provinces approach to what a permissible temporary lay-off is, there is no guarantee the courts will find that COVID-19 caused temporary layoffs (of whatever duration) are not constructive dismissals. We feel that the Courts will likely provide considerable leeway to employers rights to layoff but we will have to wait and see to be sure.