Applying for temporary layoff extensions reminder

Randi-Marie Adams
08/05/2020

Workers and employers who need to extend temporary layoffs beyond the Aug. 30, 2020, expiry date are reminded to apply for a variance using the Employment Standards Branch's new online application by Aug. 25.

In July 2020, the Ministry of Labour launched a simplified variance application process to help businesses navigate the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic more easily.

Employers are encouraged to apply as soon as possible. An application deadline is set for Aug. 25, 2020, for workers and employers to jointly apply for an extension, to ensure that all applications will be processed by the Aug. 30 expiry date.

The new two-step online application simplifies and streamlines the process for employers and workers to jointly apply for an extension by allowing documents and signatures to be submitted electronically.

First, employers must reach out to their workforce to ensure they have more than 50% support from workers before applying. Workers will receive information about the variance, including their rights under the Employment Standards Act, and will be able to voice their support using the online tool. Once worker support is documented, employers can complete the online form and submit directly to the Employment Standards Branch.

Under B.C.'s Employment Standards Act, temporary layoffs related to COVID-19 can last up to 24 weeks, or until Aug. 30, 2020, before the layoff becomes permanent. The government encourages employers to submit their variance applications now to avoid permanent staff layoffs and compensation for length of service to eligible workers upon the expiry of the COVID-19 emergency layoff period Aug. 30.

BC's Restart Plan is supporting businesses to safely reopen and get people back to work. Employers are also encouraged to make use of the federal wage subsidy to assist them in bringing workers back.

Visit the updated website for temporary layoff variance applications: www.gov.bc.ca/covidlayoffs

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