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alberta employment standards temporary layoff

December 20, 2020

Posted in: Blog

During the specific period of the temporary layoff, your employer is not obligated to pay you. The Employment Standards Code establishes Alberta’s minimum standards of employment in many areas including payment of wages, hours of work, overtime, vacation and holidays, leaves and termination of employment. They are entitled to 2 days' regular wages for each full year that they worked for the employer before their termination of employment. A temporary layoff is like “pausing” the employment relationship. The employee generally is not entitled to pay during the layoff period. That is, the ESC layoff provisions are meant to address those situations where a collective bargaining or employment agreement already allow for temporary layoffs - not give employers an automatic statutory right to layoff employees. Employers who want to keep an employment relationship may temporarily lay off an employee. Many employers in Alberta are either not aware of these rights or willfully ignore them. What You Need to Know if You’ve Lost Your Job in Alberta, Alberta Termination & Severance Pay Rights & What You Need to Know, Severance Packages During the COVID-19 Pandemic, COVID-19: the Human Rights Act, Family Status and Marital Status. The Employment Standards Act (British Columbia) only allows an employer to temporarily layoff an employee in the following situations: The employee’s contract expressly permits it. If the thresholds are met in the last column above, the employee’s employment is considered to be ended, and the employer must pay termination pay if the employee is entitled. At the time an employee is laid off, an employer is not required to provide a specific recall date, however, if they do, they must generally comply with it. However, there are guidelines in the code for employers and employees to follow to make the temporary layoff relationship work. The Alberta government is increasing the maximum time for temporary layoffs from 60 days to 120 days to ensure temporarily laid-off employees stay attached to a job longer. Unless a collective agreement provides otherwise, a layoff notice must be provided in So, most employees temporarily laid off need to wait for a recall notice. Extension of Temporary Layoff Period: Perhaps the most noteworthy change for employers is the extension of the maximum temporary layoff period in the Code from 60 days to 120 days. A layoff may be extended if wages and benefits are paid and the employee agrees. On the 181st day of a temporary layoff, the employee’s employment is considered to be ended, and the employer must pay termination pay based on length of employee's employment. Temporary layoffs have, therefore, been utilized extensively by employers to keep their staff on without the significant burden of paying wages for a period of time when little or no income was coming in. And how do the recent changes to the law affect you? | Privacy Policy, Non-Competition & Non-Solicitation Disputes, Alberta Temporary Layoffs and COVID-19: What You Need to Know. An employer can: If the employee doesn’t return to work within 7 days of being served the recall notice: If there is a collective agreement in place, and it contains recall rights following layoff, the employment ends and termination pay is owed when recall rights expire. Alberta FAQs > Employment Law > Employment Standards > Termination & Temporary Layoff Termination & Temporary Layoff For COVID-19 specific information, see the COVID-19 for Alberta… What does this mean for you if you’ve endured an enforced temporary layoff due to the measures? To be valid, the notice must: There are several ways to serve a recall notice to an employee. However, the Employment Standards Code can be confusing for anyone without experience in employment law. As I understand it Employment Standards AB is permitting a 60 day extension to 180 days for layoffs specifically related to COVID19 conditions only. To be valid, the notice must: If proper notice of temporary layoff is not given, the employee may have been unjustly or constructively dismissed. These rules do not affect temporary layoffs, but do come into effect when employees are terminated. Division 8 also outlines circumstances in which an employer or an employee may not be required to provide termination notice under the Code. ", Copyright © document.write(new Date().getFullYear()) Taylor Janis LLP. Fortunately, we didn’t suffer as badly as our cousins to the south and many businesses have since been able to start trading again – albeit in a scaled-back capacity for many in the hospitality, recreation, travel, and arts sectors. Mandatory measures in effect provincewide. I had a great experience working with Sarah and her team at Taylor Janis in Calgary. I learned quite a bit through this process and am now much more knowledgable when it comes to employment law. COVID-19: State of public health emergency. To request that an employee return to work after a layoff, an employer must serve a recall notice to the employee. As COVID-19 was largely unforeseen, this would apply as an exception. Employees who are laid off will be placed on a leave without pay, and all benefits will be the same as fo… The guidelines associated with temporary layoffs for non-unionized employees in Alberta are outlined in the Employment Standards Code. An employee has the right to collect severance pay if they have completed at least 12 consecutive months of continuous employment before their layoff or dismissal resulted in a termination of employment. As of August 15, 2020, under Alberta's statutory and regulatory laws, a temporary layoff that is implemented "for reasons related to COVID-19" may last no longer than 180 consecutive days. As we reported in April, the Government of Alberta previously announced an extension of the temporary layoff period in Alberta’s Employment Standards Code (the “Code”) from 60 days to 120 days. Under these new regulations, effective from June, any employee who was laid off due to the lockdown was considered as temporarily laid off until the 181st consecutive day without working. The Government of Alberta has introduced Bill 24, the COVID-19 Pandemic Response Statutes Amendment Act, 2020 (" Bill-24") to validate the Employment Standards (COVID-19 Leave) Regulation (" COVID-19 Leave Regulation") and extend the temporary layoff period under the Employment Standards Code ("ESC") to 180 days for employees who are laid off due to COVID-19. On April 6, 2020, the Alberta Government issued a press release announcing upcoming temporary changes to the Alberta Employment Standards Code (the "Code") in response to COVID-19. The maximum days rule does not apply to school employees and school bus drivers if they work until the end of one school year and continue to work, or have the opportunity to work for, the same employer at the beginning of the next school year. Courts in Canada have generally held that while employment standards legislation may permit employers to temporarily layoff employees, an employee otherwise maintains the right sue for constructive dismissal or wrongful termination if they are laid off in the absence of a collective bargaining agreement or employment contract that specifically allows for temporary layoffs. Several changes were introduced in 2020 to help with temporary layoffs related to COVID-19. Important changes were made to employment law in Alberta in June of this year to help businesses cope with the extreme measures taken against the COVID-19 outbreak. While your employer has certain rights with temporary layoffs, so do you. The employer, therefore, would not be obligated to provide termination pay until that day. If you fail to return within seven days, your employment can be terminated and your entitlement to severance pay may be affected. The period of employment also includes periods of temporary interruption in employment (a layoff, an unpaid leave), seasonal employment, and when an employee returns to work for the same employer after a break of less than In Alberta, the maximum duration of a temporary layoff depends on the reason for layoff, and when the layoff occurred. However, there is also a provision in the code for unforeseeable circumstances, whereby the employer should provide notice “as soon as practicable”. Employers should be aware of the rules regarding group terminations when laying off large numbers of employees. Changes to employment standards rules in the Restoring Balance in Alberta’s Workplaces Act are in effect. It establishes the processes by which an employee can seek recourse if the standards have not been met. Amendments to the Code further extends the temporary layoff period to 180 consecutive days for employees who are, or who have been, laid off “for reasons related to COVID-19”. The Alberta Government has released a Ministerial Order temporarily amending employment standards legislation to deal with the practical implications arising from COVID-19. During the COVID-19 lockdown, businesses across Alberta were placed in difficult positions but the hope was that the period of inactivity would be strictly temporary. Permits and variances Apply for variances to basic employment standards rules, or for a permit to employ a person under 18 for certain types of work. "I had a great experience working with Sarah and her team at Taylor Janis in Calgary. Once you receive this request, you must return to work within seven days. Your employer can request that you return to work at any point during the temporary layoff period but the request must be in writing. A temporary layoff is when a employee’s hours are reduced or eliminated on a short term basis with the intention that they will shortly be recalled. Termination pay is payable when payments in lieu cease. Many thousands have never re-opened. In Alberta, the maximum duration of a temporary layoff depends on the reason for layoff, and when the layoff occurred. 301+ employees: 16 weeks Layoffs are limited to 60 days within a 120-day period. In Alberta, the Alberta Employment Standards Code permits temporary layoff where employers provide employees with a written layoff notice. As we reported in April, the Government of Alberta previously announced an extension of the temporary layoff period in Alberta's Employment Standards Code (the "Code") from 60 days to 120 days. Employment Standards The majority of the following proposed changes will take effect November 1, 2020, apart from changes to group termination notice, temporary layoff periods, and variance application rules, which will take effect If the employee is covered by a collective agreement, the maximum length of a layoff is the period of time during which they have the right to be recalled. Alberta’s employment standards laws are enforced through audits, inspections, penalties, prosecutions and judgment collection. Termination pay after temporary layoff 63(1) The employment of an employee who is laid off for one or more periods exceeding, in total, 60 days within a 120-day period is deemed to have been terminated unless (a) during the layoff the employer, by agreement with the employee, (i) pays the employee wages or an amount instead of wages, or (ii) makes payments for the benefit of the laid-off employee in … In June, another temporary amendment was made: This effectively extended the period for temporary layoffs to 180 consecutive days for most employees who were laid off “for reasons related to COVID-19”. The employer must give the employee notice of temporary layoff. EMPLOYMENT STANDARDS CODE 5 63 Termination pay after temporary layoff 63.1 Termination pay after temporary layoff for reasons related to COVID-19 64 Recall Division 9 Restriction on Employment … Employment agreements sometimes also include references to temporary layoffs but the terms of an agreement must provide a “greater right, or benefit” to the employee than the legislation in the Code in order to override it. On Monday afternoon, Alberta Premier Jason Kenney said the government is changing the employment standards code to help businesses respond to COVID-19. See the list of services available. This is where it gets slightly more complicated. No, your employer is not obligated to recall you from a temporary layoff after the 180-day period expires. The employment standards legislation of British Columbia, Alberta, and Ontario each have varying conceptions of temporary layoff which will impact how this practice is treated by employers and employees alike in each province. An employee cannot be laid off for more than 13 weeks in any given 20-week period (about three months in a period of five months). As such, the temporary layoff period in Alberta has now been extended to 180 consecutive days for employees who are, or who have been, laid off for reasons related to COVID-19. Except in circumstances beyond the reasonable control of the employing department, permanent employees will have 14 calendar days' notice of layoff, and temporary employees will have 7 calendar days' notice. Government offices are closed Dec. 24 to Jan. 3. For employees temporarily laid off prior to March 31, 2020, the time period was extended by six months or to December 30, 2020 (whichever occurs first). They are designed to help maintain the employer-employee relationship even in times when there is no work for the employee. If you feel that you have been treated unfairly by an employer or are unsure whether their actions violate the code, you can arrange a confidential 30-minute telephone or video consultation with an experienced employment lawyer at Taylor Janis. Contact Employment Standards or sign up for updates, Mandatory measures in effect provincewide, Restoring Balance in Alberta’s Workplaces Act, 120 consecutive days from the initial layoff date, 180 consecutive days from the initial layoff date, state that it’s a temporary layoff notice and its effective date, say that the employee must return to work within 7 days from the date the notice was served to the employee, give the notice to the employee in person, either at work or at the employee’s address, leave the notice at the employee’s address with a person who appears to be 18 or older, send the notice by mail or registered mail, the employee would not be entitled to termination notice or termination pay. In Alberta, for example, the provincial legislature extended the temporary layoff period on April 6, 2020, such that a temporary layoff did not become a permanent termination until "more than 120 consecutive days" had passed In Alberta, the maximum duration of a temporary layoff due to COVID-19 is 180 consecutive days. The Employment Standards Code stipulates that, in normal employment conditions, proper notice of temporary layoff should be provided in writing and clearly state its temporary nature. Tens of thousands of businesses around Alberta had to close their doors in March and April as Canada entered a lockdown period. A temporary layoff is when you cut back an employee’s work or end their employment, for a specified time. Recently, the Government of Alberta introduced Bill 24, the COVID-19 Pandemic Response Statutes Amendment Act , 2020 , which proposed amendments to various statutes, including the Code . This Bill amends the temporary layoff provisions in Alberta’s Employment Standards Code again, this time to set the maximum temporary layoff period at 180 consecutive days for employees who are laid off “for reasons related to COVID-19”. When similar employees are to be laid off, the employing department will lay off employees with the least seniority first if the employees retained are qualified and able to perform the work. An employee who feels they have been improperly terminated can file an employment standards complaint. In effect, the employment relationship is paused. Employment standards statutes across Canada provide for “temporary layoffs.” These enable an employer to lay an employee off work for a limited period of time, typically without terminating the employment relationship. Some courts have also held that while the Code permits an employer to temporarily lay off an employee in the absence of a collective agreement or contract allowing layoff, the employee maintains the right to sue for constructive or wrongful dismissal if laid off in those circumstances. A temporary layoff that was implemented on or after March 17, 2020 and is not COVID-related may last no longer than 90 days within any 120-day period. Part 2, Division 8 of the Employment Standards Code provides the process required to terminate employment relationships, entitlements to termination notice and pay, temporary layoff and recall rights. The employer is in a business in which temporary layoffs are a common industry-wide practice. This was intended as a temporary extension to account for the extreme circumstances associated with the COVID-19 lockdown. Bill 24 passed third reading on June 25, 2020, and received Royal Assent on June 26, 2020. If you are temporarily laid off in Alberta, you have two basic options: The first option has been almost impossible during the COVID-19 outbreak as few companies have been hiring. The period of temporary layoff can be extended beyond the maximum days if the employer makes regular payment to or on behalf of the employee, such as continuing to pay wages, employee pensions or benefits and the employee agrees to these payments in lieu of a firm limit of the length of the layoff. However, you may be able to apply for EI Benefits or receive assistance via an emergency financial assistance program provided by the Government of Alberta. Written notice of temporary layoff is required and must contain an effective date and an outline of applicable provisions of the ESC. Disclaimer: In the event of any discrepancy between this information and Alberta Employment Standards legislation, the legislation is considered correct. For employees temporarily laid off between March 31, 2020, and September 30, 2020, the time period was extended until December 30, 2020, unless a later recall date was provided in a written notice at the time of the layoff. I learned quite a bit through this process and am now much more knowledgable when it comes to employment law. This was intended as a temporary extension to account for the extreme circumstances associated with the COVID-19 lockdown. A layoff becomes a termination of employment if the employer: Has no intention of bringing the employee back to work; or The layoff exceeds the maximum time length under the province’s employment standards legislation. Several changes were introduced in 2020 to help with temporary layoffs related to COVID-19. Temporary layoff notice must be provided to the employee before the layoff starts. Alberta employment standards rules Laws for minimum wage, overtime, holidays, job-protected leaves, vacations, hours of work, earnings, youth workers and termination. Employers and employees can sign an agreement that extends the layoff beyond 180 consecutive days but it would need to clearly outline the benefits and wages due during the layoff period. While the provision of adequate notice is an important element of termination without cause, when it comes to temporary layoffs, the answer is “it depends”. This means that if an employer temporarily lays off an employee, the employee’s employment will not terminate until the 121 st day of layoff. If you did not receive much notice before being temporarily laid off, your employer was probably acting within their rights. Wait for a recall notice from your employer. Section 62 : a week of layoff occurs where there is a reduction of 50% or more of an It is not considered termination without cause if the employee is recalled to work within the specified period. If no other agreement is in place between you and your employer, your employment will be considered as terminated after the period ends. In April, Alberta announced an extension of the temporary layoff period in the Employment Standards Code from 60 days to 120 days for any layoff that occurred on or after March 17, 2020. In April, Alberta announced an extension of the temporary layoff period in the Employment Standards Code from 60 days to 120 days for any layoff that occurred on or after March 17, 2020. How the law applies Part 2, Division 8 of the Employment Standards Code provides the process required to terminate employment relationships, entitlements to termination notice and pay, temporary layoff and recall rights. 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