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

Ontario lockdown January 2021
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Happy New Year to our readers! In Ontario, we begin the new year in yet another lockdown situation, which has forced many many small businesses to switch back to curbside pick-up only or, in some cases, stop operating. In southern Ontario, the lockdown will remain in effect until at least January 23, 2021. Full details of the lockdown rules can be found in O. Reg. 779/20, which came into effect on December 26, 2020.  

Staying Open? Make A Safety Plan!

For businesses that remain open and in-person, employers are required to prepare and make available a safety plan. Physical distancing and applicable capacity limits, as set out in O. Reg. 779/20 must be followed. 
Continue Reading Ontario’s Latest Lockdown and a New Grant for Small Businesses

Toolkit helps employers during latest Covid-19 lockdownAs 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. 

Layoffs/Deemed IDEL

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. 
Continue Reading Pivoting Your Business During Yet Another Lockdown

covid-19 workplace law issues
Credits: www.cherrydeck.com

With the new Ontario Covid-19 response framework in place and Covid-19 still on the rise, employers need guidance on how to navigate workplace law issues.

During our last webinar, we covered this very topic and were flooded with employer questions. This is Part 2 of our Q&A on the second wave of Covid-19 workplace law issues.  Click here for Part 1.  

Question 7: If an employee chooses to work from home because of childcare, kids’ online learning/homeschooling, but their role is impossible to do at home, are we required to provide alternative work OR do they just go on leave? 
Continue Reading Covid-19 2nd Wave Workplace Law Issues: Part 2

Covid-19 workplace legal issues as winter approachesAs we now all head indoors for a few months, how will your business and workforce handle COVID-related restrictions? After 8 months of new pandemic rules and systems, pivoting and outdoor meetings, the long Canadian winter will no doubt bring fresh employment law issues. There’s only so much a cozy fireplace and wool socks can

coronavirus workplace legal considerations
Credits: www.cherrydeck.com

With the second wave of Covid-19 upon us, new government benefits now in place and government business restrictions shifting, it is important for employers to be up to speed on key workplace legal considerations and compliance issues.  During our last webinar, we covered this very topic and were flooded with questions from employers.  Below is part 1 of a summary of the most common Q&As.

Question 1: Are employees entitled to an accommodation to work from home if it is a choice or preference to not put their kids in school, rather than a need based on health issues?
Continue Reading Covid-19 2nd Wave Workplace Law Issues: Part 1

Considerations for employers recalling employees to work
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Employers are encountering issues as they ask their employees to come back to work. We will take a look at some of these in today’s blog. 

A Recap 

Many employees were placed on layoffs in March 2020, when the shutdowns occurred. In Ontario, these layoffs were then converted into deemed Infectious Disease Emergency Leaves. While statutory layoff timelines normally restrict the amount of time an employee can be on a layoff before being considered terminated, in Ontario the Infectious Disease Emergencies Leave amendments to the Employment Standards Act changed this. Ontario employees can now be involuntarily off work (laid off) until January 2, 2020, without having a  termination triggered. 

A layoff does not end the employment relationship. It’s just a temporary pause, which anticipates that the employer will bring the employee back to work or recall them. 
Continue Reading Recalling Employees to Work: Considerations for Employers