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Province of British Columbia
INFORMATION BULLETIN
For Immediate Release
2020LBR0013-000810
May 4, 2020
Ministry of Labour
Government creates COVID-19 temporary layoff period
Chinese and Punjabi translations are included

VICTORIA – To ease financial hardship on businesses and to keep employees connected with their jobs during the COVID-19 pandemic, government has extended the temporary layoff period to 16 weeks for COVID-19 related reasons.

Previously under the Employment Standards Act, a temporary layoff longer than 13 weeks in any 20-week period (or about three months in a five-month period) was considered a permanent layoff. With a permanent layoff, employers are required to provide employees with written working notice of termination and/or pay severance to qualifying employees, based on their length of service. Now, temporary layoffs relating to the COVID-19 pandemic can be extended to 16 weeks, if the employee agrees.

This change to the Employment Standards Act aligns B.C.’s temporary layoff provisions with the federal Canada Emergency Response Benefit period. The federal period provides 16 weeks of financial support, allowing employees to take full advantage of those benefits.

It also allows employees to keep their job, even if they are not working, for 16 weeks of temporary layoff. Employers will be able to quickly resume operations should the public health emergency end within that time.

The COVID-19 emergency temporary layoff provisions are not intended to be permanent and will be repealed when no longer needed.  

Learn More:

For information on employment standards around temporary layoffs, visit: www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/employment-business/employment-standards-advice/employment-standards/termination#laying-off

For the latest medical updates, including case counts, prevention, risks and testing, visit: www.bccdc.ca
Or follow @CDCofBC on Twitter

For the provincial health officer’s orders, notices and guidance, visit: www.gov.bc.ca/phoguidance

For non-health related information, including financial, child care and education supports, travel, transportation and essential service information, visit: www.gov.bc.ca/Covid-19
Or call 1 888 COVID19 (1 888 268-4319) between 7:30 a.m. and 8 p.m. (Pacific time), seven days a week.

For a Chinese translation, visit: https://news.gov.bc.ca/files/2020.05.04_IB_Layoff_Provisions-TC.pdf

For a Punjabi translation, visit: https://news.gov.bc.ca/files/2020.05.04_IB_Layoff_Provisions-Punjabi.pdf

 
Contacts:
 
For non-medical information relating to COVID-19:
Call 1 888 COVID-19 (1 888 268-4319)
Service is available 7:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. (Pacific time)
 
Ministry of Labour
Media Relations
Government Communications and Public Engagement
250 888-8074
 
Joint Information Centre
COVID Provincial Co-Ordination Plan
embc.covidjic@gov.bc.ca
236 478-1336
 

 
Connect with the Province of B.C. at: news.gov.bc.ca/connect