B.C. Labour Minister Harry Bains in the B.C. legislature, May 13, 2019. (Hansard TV)

B.C. extends temporary layoff rules for COVID-19 pandemic

Can be up to 16 weeks to match federal CERB program

The B.C. government has changed its employment regulations to allow employers to extend temporary layoffs up to 16 weeks due to COVID-19 restrictions, to match the duration of federal emergency aid.

The change is to allow more laid-off employees to keep their jobs and employers to restart operations more quickly. Premier John Horgan is expected to lay out details of B.C.’s initial lifting of pandemic restrictions this week.

Previously, if a worker was laid off for 13 weeks of any 20-week period, B.C.’s Employment Standards Act required that to be treated as a permanent layoff with written notice of termination and severance pay if applicable. Now if the employee agrees, that can be extended to 16 weeks for the duration of the coronavirus pandemic.

“This change to the Employment Standards Act aligns B.C.’s temporary layoff provisions with the federal Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) period,” Labour Minister Harry Bains’ office said in a statement May 4. “The federal period provides 16 weeks of financial support, allowing employees to take full advantage of those benefits.”

During a temporary layoff, people are still considered employed and any benefits, vacation and leave of absence provisions are protected, according to the ministry’s website.

If employees’ hours are reduced, they are considered laid off as soon as they earn less than 50 per cent of their weekly wages at the regular rate, measured as an average of the previous eight weeks.

RELATED: Ontario, Quebec begin lifting lockdown restrictions

RELATED: ‘I love you – stay away,’ senior tells family for Mother’s Day


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

BC legislatureCoronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Paintings stolen from Honeymoon Bay studio returned

Hutchings said he received a lot of feedback from the community

3 people found violating court imposed curfews in Cowichan

People are placed on curfews for a variety of public safety reasons.

No parking on Thain Road, Shawnigan police remind

Warmer weather brings complaints near Cobble Hill quarry

No lifeguards this summer for Cowichan’s Fuller Lake, Arbutus Park; Crofton pool closed

Fears of risk to health and safety during COVID-19 pandemic to blame

You’ll have to pay to get on the bus again in Cowichan

Beginning June 1, fare collection and front door boarding started again

If Trudeau won’t stand up to Trump, how will regular people: Singh

Trudeau did not directly answer a question about Trump’s actions amid protests

List of cancelled Cowichan Valley community events

An ongoing list of events that have been cancelled in the Cowichan Valley due to COVID-19

VIDEO: Internal investigation into aggressive arrest by Kelowna Mountie

A video allegedly shows a Kelowna Mountie striking a man several times

22 new COVID-19 test-positives, one death following days of low case counts in B.C.

Health officials urged British Columbians to ‘stand together while staying apart’

John Horgan says COVID-19 restrictions won’t be eased regionally

B.C. Liberals urge ‘tailored’ response based on infections

Feds get failing grade for lack of action plan on anniversary of MMIWG report

‘Instead of a National Action Plan, we have been left with a Lack-of-Action Plan’

Search and rescue crews help locate 62-year-old Nanoose Bay mountain biker

RCMP: Man got lost on trail and did right thing by calling for assistance

B.C. ranchers, lodge operators say Indigenous land title shuts them out

Tsilhqot’in jurisdiction affects grazing, access to private property

As two B.C. offices see outbreaks, Dr. Henry warns tests don’t replace other measures

Physical distancing, PPE and sanitizing remain key to reduce COVID-19 spread

Most Read