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BC Employers Must Submit an Application to Extend Temporary Layoffs

Practice Areas: Human Resources Support

Temporary layoffs have been a key tool to mitigate the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic as they allow employers who cannot currently maintain their full workforce but do not want to permanently dismiss employees to reduce their workforce without triggering termination obligations. To support employers who chose to rely on temporary layoffs, the BC government announced that temporary layoffs connected to COVID-19 would be extended to 24 weeks in a 28 week period ending on or before August 30, 2020. However, as the negative effects of the pandemic continue to impact business, many employers are not ready to recall their employees by the extension expiry date. BC employers have the option to apply to the Employment Standards Branch (“ESB”) to extend the temporary layoff if they are expecting it to surpass the 24 week period or August 30.

The employer is able to make the extension application here through the online tool launched by the province. The online application recommends that:

  • All affected employees be notified of the application; and
  • A list of the affected employees be included with the application.

The application takes approximately 15 minutes to complete at no cost to the employer. Failure to submit a request by August 25, 2020 will result in the temporary layoff becoming permanent and triggering the termination of laid off employees. The turn-around time for processing the request and advising the employer if an extension is granted  is approximately one (1) week.  

It is important to note that this only applies to non-unionized and non-excluded employees. If you are unsure if your employees qualify for the extension, you should refer here. The extension granted can be made with new expiry dates and conditions. Any extension request past December 31, 2020 would have to be due to an exceptional circumstance as the extensions cannot be granted indefinitely.

If you are struggling to navigate the new extension process or have any questions about navigating this challenging time as an employer the team at CCPartners is ready to assist you.

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