It has been another very busy year in the world of Employment Law with many significant changes to the workplace/workforce both legally and culturally.

Join SpringLaw’s Lisa Stam and Evaleen Hellinga for our December webinar as they walk you through a review of the year so that your business and HR team/person are well-prepared for 2023!

Date: Wednesday, December 14, 2022
Time: 10:30-11:00 am EST
Register today: Click here!
Continue Reading Free webinar: Rewind & Review – 2022 Employment Law Recap

As we start to wrap up 2022, workplace law continues to move at an unpredictable, quick and sometimes wacky pace.

Both managers and employees alike are burnt out and struggling to find their feet in the new post-pandemic norm. Employers and managers are having to adjust to a different style of management as employees are demanding new standards in the workplace. The ability to work remotely, the right to disconnect completely (hello Bill 27!) and having a clear line in the sand about what their job is (#quietquitting) are becoming the rules and not the expectations.
Continue Reading 2022 HR Law Trends

Paid IDEL Updated July 21, 2022COVID-19 rules continue to change quickly. In a previous blog, we indicated that the paid Infectious Disease Emergency Leave (IDEL) would come to an end on July 31, 2022, the deemed IDEL would end on July 30, 2022, and the voluntary IDEL would continue so long as the circumstances leading to an employee’s leave continue and COVID-19 is designated as an infectious disease. Though the end date of the deemed IDEL remains the same and the voluntary IDEL continues to have no set end date, the Ontario government has once again extended the paid IDEL to March 31, 2023. Specifically, on July 21, 2022, the Ontario government filed O. Reg. 464/22: Infectious Disease Emergency Leave, which amends O. Reg. 228/20: Infectious Disease Emergency Leave, by extending Ontario’s paid IDEL days until March 31, 2023.
Continue Reading Infectious Disease Emergency Leave (IDEL): Another Update

Unlimited Paid Time Off Policies - Proceed with Caution!We’ve been hearing about unlimited paid time off  (PTO) for some time, but it is not yet a common trend in Canada. However, from time to time in our employment law practice, we encounter employers who offer unlimited or unstructured time off to their employees.

At first glance,  unlimited PTO may sound wonderful and generous, and employers may offer it to foster a positive workplace culture and promote work-life balance. However,  without addressing potential issues via contracts and policies, offering unlimited and unstructured time off could cause more headaches than benefits for both the employers and the employees. 
Continue Reading Unlimited Paid Time Off Policies – Proceed with Caution!

pregnancy or parental leave top-up
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As companies struggle to retain their talent in the midst of so many economic and health changes, many are finding new ways to attract and keep employees. A growing number of companies, for instance, are providing their employees with or extending existing pregnancy or parental leave top-up payments to assist families with caregiving responsibilities (present and/or future). 

Pregnancy vs. Parental Leave Basics

First of all, it’s important to distinguish between two commonly confused leaves: pregnancy and parental leave. In Ontario, pregnancy leave is taken by the birthing parent and typically starts before the birth of the child. Parental leave, on the other hand, can be taken by either or both new parents after the birth of the child or when a child comes into the employee’s custody, care and control. Parental leave can also be used by parents who are adopting a child. The birthing parent will typically take a combination of pregnancy and parental leave. These leaves are protected leaves under the Employment Standards Act, 2000 (“ESA”). The ESA sets out the requirements for the leaves, for example, how long an employee must be employed with the employer before they can take the leave, and the employee’s entitlements both during the leave and upon return from the leave. 
Continue Reading Parental Leave, EI and Top-Up Basics

Updated Ontario COVID-19 Restrictions
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The Government of Ontario has again released an update on its COVID-19 public health measures and advice. As many of our readers know, given the recent changes in the public health situation, new measures have been implemented and are in effect from January 5 until January 27, 2022. Read on to find out how these new rules, in addition to the temporary closure of schools and mandatory remote learning until January 17, 2022, will impact employers.
Continue Reading Back at Home: An Update on COVID-19 Restrictions

Workplace Law Trends for 2022
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Welcome to 2020 Two! It’s hard to believe we’ve been living through a pandemic for nearly 2 years. Workplaces are beyond worn out, stress leaves and harassment complaints continue to increase, parents are juggling remote learning and limited activities for kids once again, and many workplaces struggle to find people to fill the roles. 

Yes, it’s all a bit of a mess, but out of crisis emerge new ways to approach issues and novel solutions to traditional problems. Here are our predictions for workplace law trends and changes in 2022.

#1 – Push for Hybrid and Remote Working

Studies over the last year are showing a deep disconnect between senior bosses and employees about preferred workplaces. Increasingly, employees want – and now expect – at least some remote work option, whereas senior levels of management are more likely to continue to see in-person work better for productivity, mentoring and focus.
Continue Reading Workplace Law Trends for 2022

Paid Infectious Disease Emergency Leave
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We’ve discussed the unpaid Infectious Disease Emergency Leave (IDEL) in a number of our previous blog posts. On April 29, 2021, the Ontario government made updates to this leave and amended the Employment Standards Act, 2000 (ESA), introducing the Ontario COVID-19 Worker Income Protection Benefit. In addition to the unpaid IDEL, employers are now also required to provide eligible employees with the new paid IDEL – more specifically, up to $200 a day for up to three days – for reasons related to COVID-19. The three days need not be taken consecutively. 

What are the eligible reasons for taking the paid IDEL? 

Paid IDEL is available for certain reasons related to COVID-19, including:
Continue Reading The New Paid Infectious Disease Emergency Leave (IDEL)

Over the course of the past year, many people have had reductions in earnings and received some form of government income assistance - EI, CERB or Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB).  In some cases, employees who initially thought that their interruption or reduction in earnings was temporary have had their employment terminated.   In almost all termination situations an employee will be entitled to some form of termination payment from the employer. Employees who are also receiving government income assistance may wonder how their government payments will be impacted by their termination packages.   While not everything is crystal clear at this point, we have some thoughts!  Layoffs and the Deemed IDEL   As noted, in some circumstances, employees have been temporarily laid off. During 2020, these layoffs converted into Deemed Infectious Disease Emergency Leaves (IDEL). Unless an employee is terminated, these Deemed IDELs will continue during the COVID-19 Period, which is presently set to end July 3, 2021.   While an employee is not receiving income, or while they are receiving 50% or less of their pre-COVID income due to COVID-19 reasons, they will typically be eligible for EI or the CRB.   Employees who have not had their employment ended at the end of the COVID-19 Period can expect to either be recalled to work or be placed on a temporary layoff. A temporary layoff can continue for up to 35 weeks if the employer continues the employee benefits.  An employee can expect to continue to be eligible for CRB or EI after the COVID-19 period should they be continued on a layoff.   Terminations, EI, CERB and CRB  An employee who is terminated while on the Deemed IDEL should receive their termination entitlements up to the date of their termination. This means that for the purposes of calculating length of service the employee’s time on the Deemed IDEL should be included. This should also mean that the income replacement benefits that the employee received prior to their termination date should not be required to be paid back, for reasons of double-dipping. The termination package should cover a time period after the termination date and therefore not impact the benefits received prior to the termination date.    While it is not 100% clear how the CRA will treat an employee’s continued entitlement to income replacement benefits following the termination date after the employee receives a termination package there are a few general principles:   EI - Typically an employee will not be entitled to EI when they are receiving income from the employer, and EI will regard termination payments as income. However, the government’s EI FAQs state that “As a temporary measure most separation monies received when you are laid off will not affect the payment of your EI benefits for the claims established on or after September 27, 2020 for one year.” This suggests that EI payments with respect to COVID-19 may be treated differently.   CERB - While the period for which employees could receive CERB is over, the government CERB FAQs indicate that “A severance payment does not impact an individual’s eligibility for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit.” This suggests that receiving a termination package will not disentitle an employee from their CERB. In a recent decision the Ontario Superior Court agreed - see Iriotakis v. Peninsula Employment Services Limited, 2021 ONSC 998.  CRB - The CRB will likely be treated similarly to the CERB, and we expect that an employee will not have to repay the CRB if they also receive a termination package so long as they continue to maintain eligibility. An employee will be required to re-pay $0.50 of CRB for every dollar of net income earned above $38,000 in the calendar year.   Terminated employees who have been receiving income replacement benefits should get advice so that they can understand the impact of their termination packages on their entitlements to these benefits.Over the course of the past year, many people have had reductions in earnings and received some form of government income assistance – EI, CERB or Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB).

In some cases, employees who initially thought that their interruption or reduction in earnings was temporary have had their employment terminated. 

In almost all termination situations an employee will be entitled to some form of termination payment from the employer. Employees who are also receiving government income assistance may wonder how their government payments will be impacted by their termination packages. 

While not everything is crystal clear at this point, we have some thoughts!
Continue Reading Termination Payments and Repaying Government Benefits – EI, CERB and CRB

importance of record of employment
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Employers may brush off the importance of a Record of Employment (ROE) or even have their accountant handle all the details, but it is an important document in the realm of employment law. This document becomes significant when it comes to topics such as terminations, lay-offs, resignations, disability, illness, quarantine, a leave of absence and maternity or parental leaves.  So here are the top 6 things that every employer should know when it comes to a Record of Employment.

Firstly, what is an ROE?

An ROE is a form that employers complete for employees who are receiving insurable earnings who have stopped working and are experiencing an interruption of earnings. This document is a requirement of the Employment Insurance Program. An ROE must be completed even if the employee is not applying for Employment Insurance Benefits.
Continue Reading Top 6 Things to Know Regarding ROEs