Extension of the Temporary Layoff Provision in British Columbia – The COVID-19 Temporary Layoff Period

This blog was originally published on May 5, 2020.

Following its announcement on May 4, 2020, the government of British Columbia announced on June 25, 2020 that it would be further extending the temporary layoff provision to a maximum of 24 weeks expiring on August 30, 2020, during the COVID-19 pandemic. This is an increase to the previously announced extension of 16 weeks.

Previously, under the Employment Standards Act, a temporary layoff was limited to a maximum of 13 weeks in any 20-week period. Any layoff longer than 13 weeks was considered a permanent layoff, which resulted in an employer being required to provide written notice or pay in lieu of notice upon termination based upon an employee’s length of service.

Pursuant to Section 72 of the Employment Standards Act, an employer and an employee could submit a joint written application to the Employment Standards Branch seeking an extension to the time period specified in the definition of “temporary layoff”

The intention behind this extension is to provide employers and employees with additional time to craft such agreements if there is a need to further extend the temporary layoff.  The Employment Standards Branch continues to work with employers and employees to ensure that Section 72 applications are processed in a timely and effective manner.

Disclaimer: This article provides only an overview of the special measures taken by the provincial government in response to COVID-19. It does not constitute or take the place of legal advice. Readers are cautioned against making any decisions based on this material alone and encouraged to seek legal advice tailored to their specific situation.