As COVID-19 continues to create barriers for businesses across the province, many employers face tough decisions regarding their staff. With so much uncertainty regarding when and if things will return to normal, scaling down or shutting down is becoming a reality in many industries.
At SpringLaw, we help employers navigate these difficult decisions every day, but are also aware that not every business needs traditional legal services. This is why we created our Pivot DIY employer toolkit. Pivot DIY contains guides to help employers decide how to adjust their workforce and template legal documents with instructions on how to customize them.
Where employers are hopeful that more work will be available in the future, layoffs may be appropriate. A layoff is a temporary stoppage of work. An employer normally needs the contractual right to lay an employee off. Normally, layoffs can only last for specified lengths of time.
Due to the impact Covid-19 has had on so many businesses, the Ontario government changed the law so that what would normally be considered a layoff was converted to a deemed Infectious Disease Emergency Leave (Deemed IDEL) during a specific period. You can read more details about the Deemed IDEL in our past posts here and here.
The Deemed IDEL reduces the risk of reducing employee work hours and extends the time an employee can be off work without having the layoff convert to a termination. Currently, the Deemed IDEL ends on January 2, 2021.
Our Pivot DIY toolkit includes more information on Layoffs and the Deemed IDEL and step by step instructions and templates to help employers implement them in their workforce.
Where employers have determined that certain jobs just won’t be coming back, terminations, which permanently end the employment relationship may be appropriate. When an employee is terminated without cause – which will be the case in almost all lockdown-related termination situations – they are entitled to notice. Notice is typically an amount of an employee’s normal pay provided upon termination. However, notice can also be provided in the form of working notice. There is no legal difference between telling your employee, “Your last day will be in two weeks, please keep working for the next two weeks,” which is working notice and providing an employee with a cheque for two weeks of pay and telling them their last day is today, this is pay in lieu of notice. The amount of notice an employee is owed may be set out in their contract or may be set by the common law. The Employment Standards Act, 2000 (ESA) sets minimum amounts of notice, but in order to legally pay only these minimums, an employer and an employee must have contracted into the ESA.
Our Pivot DIY toolkit includes more information on terminations and step by step instructions and templates to help employers implement them.
These are tough times for employees and employers alike. In addition to our Pivot DIY materials, we have many free resources on our website. Check out our Covid-19 Resources page, sign up for our monthly webinar and stay tuned to our blog.
If you have questions and feel that you need custom help, get in touch to set up a consultation.