COVID-19 & Employment Law

COVID-19 & Employment Law

These are trying times that we as a nation and as a world are quickly adapting too. The economy has taken a hit and we have seen a vast number of people being laid-off. It is important that employees as well as employers are aware of the implications of temporary lay-offs.

If an employer or employee is considering being temporarily laid-off during this COVID-19 pandemic there are a couple of factors to consider. First, a term/provision needs to be included in the employment contract that the employer has the right to temporarily lay-off the employee. Without such a provision, the employee may be able to claim that his/her employer did not comply with his/her employment contract.

The employer may need to consider other options for reducing costs to the company, such as reducing hours for each employee or a reduction in days worked. Again, this would need to be permitted in the employment contract.

Temporarily laying-off an employee for over 13 consecutive weeks without providing severance is considered a wrongful/constructive dismissal. Changing any part of an employee’s standard condition of employment, such as full-time hours reduced to part-time hours, could also be considered a constructive dismissal.

It is important to state that it is unclear how the courts will react to new COVID-19 related employment disputes. It may be favourable to the employees or the employer.

The federal government has also initiated a Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB). This will provide a taxable benefit of $2,000.00 a month, for a maximum of four months. This benefit is available for eligible workers who have lost their income due to COVID-19. For more information on the CERB please refer to the Services Canada website.

Each day the federal government and provincial governments are announcing new programs designated to help the people of Ontario. Please ensure to check the Services Canada website for updates.

Please stay safe during this quarantine, from everyone at JEWELL RADIMISIS JORGE LL.P.

If you or a loved one want to know your employment rights, please contact our offices for a free consultation.

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