Feds extending time period for temporary layoffs during pandemic

Canada is providing federally regulated employers with more time to recall employees who were laid off due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Under employment legislation, employers could temporarily lay off staff for up to three months if no notice with a recall date was provided or for up to six months or if they provided a notice with an expected recall date before those layoffs became terminations.

As of June 22, employers who laid off staff prior to March 31 will be able to extend their layoffs by six months or until Dec. 30. Employers who laid off staff between March 31 and Sept. 30 will have up until Dec. 30 to recall their employees unless they provided a later recall date in a written notice.

Read: Ontario amending employment standards to make temporary layoffs part of new emergency leave

“We know that many employers who have had to temporarily lay off employees intend to bring them back to work,” said Minister of Labour Filomena Tassi in a press release. “However, there is still a great deal of uncertainty regarding exactly when that will be possible. That’s why we are taking action to protect the jobs of those employees and to support those employers by giving them more time to recall their employees.”

The changes don’t apply to employees covered by a collective agreement containing recall rights or employees who’d already been terminated before the amendments came into force. As well, previous termination rules will apply to any employees laid off after Sept. 30.

Read: 41% of Canadian businesses have laid off staff due to coronavirus: Stats Can