The government of Ontario has decided to extend the new Employment Standards Act (“ESA”) regulations, resulting from COVID-19, with regards to temporary layoffs, constructive dismissal, termination and severance. The regulations which were set to expire in January 2, 2021, have now been extended until July 3, 2021.
This means that non-unionized employees, whose hours are temporarily reduced or eliminated by the employer, for reasons related to COVID-19, will be deemed to be on an Infectious Disease Emergency Leave. Employees who fall under this category will have a right to reinstatement, however they are also exempted from the notice, termination pay and severance pay requirements under the ESA. For more information regarding how the Infectious Disease Emergency Leave may affect you, see our blog “Laid off During COVID: what are my rights?”.
The new regulations only apply to lay offs, meaning a temporary reduction or elimination of hours of work. Employees who have been given written notice of termination are exempted.
The provision will continue to apply for the “COVID-19 period” which is now May 29, 2020 to July 3, 2021.