Many business owners were forced to close their doors during the COVID-19 pandemic, and like them, your business may have had to issue temporary layoffs to employees.
In normal times, the temporary layoff period can last up to 16 weeks - but in response to the pandemic and unprecedented challenges, the BC government extended the maximum temporary layoff period in the province to 24 weeks.
Challenges, health outcomes, and economic consequences continue to change, and the path forward to recovery remains incredibly uncertain. Despite this, the province has introduced an additional process employers and employees must take to extend temporary layoffs expected to last beyond August 30, 2020.
How to apply
You will need to survey your employee(s) whom you wish to extend temporary layoffs for, and obtain more than 50% support from workers before applying. Workers will receive information about the variance, including what their rights are and can provide their support using a new online response tool (there are templates on the website explaining each step).
Once worker support is documented, you must complete the online form and submit the document in a new portal directly to the Employment Standards Branch.
What is CFIB doing?
Unfortunately, the province has put time and money into a program that is simply not the most efficient method of addressing a real problem. If the programs intention was to address a unique situation a handful of business face, perhaps this system would work. However, it is very likely this system could get flooded, as many businesses are still subject to strict Provincial Health orders and even business closure orders. A flooding of the system could lead to significant delays, causing more uncertainty for your business and employees…
CFIB is advocating for the province to extend the temporary layoff period beyond 24 weeks, much like other provinces have done. This solution is the most effective and simple way to protect the relationship between your business and its employees without having to jump through hoops and filling out paperwork. We will keep you updated!