The provincial government is extending the temporary layoff period to 16 weeks if your employment has been affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Previously, a temporary layoff lasting longer than 13 weeks in any three-month timeframe, or roughly three months in a five-month period, was considered a permanent layoff under the Employment Standards Act.

When an employee is given a permanent layoff, an employer must provide written working notice of termination and/or pay severance based on length of service to qualifying employees.

This change to the Employment Standards Act better aligns with the federal government’s layoff provisions regarding the Canada Emergency Response Benefit, which provides 16 weeks of financial support.

In addition to providing support to those who have faced layoffs and financial insecurity due to Covid-19, the new regulations will also allow business owners and employers to resume operations more quickly by having staff available that would otherwise have been considered permanently laid off.

The 16-week period is not intended to be a permanent measure, and will be reassessed and repealed when no longer needed or the public health emergency is ended.