The Ontario government has amended Reg. 228/20: Infectious Disease Emergency Leave ("the Regulation"), to extend the "COVID-19 period", to July 3, 2021. The COVID-19 period was previously set to expire on January 3, 2021.
We previously provided an update about the Regulation on September 17, 2020. Please see our article here. The Regulation affects non-union employees whose employer takes steps to temporarily lay-off employees or reduce employees' hours or wages due to COVID-19. Among other things, the Regulation:
- Extends the timeline by which the temporary lay-off of an employee constitutes a termination under the Employment Standards Act, 2000; and
- Largely suspends the law of constructive dismissal. A temporary reduction or elimination of an employee's hours, or a temporary reduction in an employee's wages, will not constitute constructive dismissal of the employee.
The Regulation also provides for the extension of emergency leave for employees due to COVID-19.
Unless the Regulation is amended again, on July 4, 2021, the regular rules for temporary lay-off and constructive dismissal will resume. Until then, employers may continue operating with reduced hours and/or wages for non-union employees due to COVID-19.
Employers should contact their lawyer to plan for the gradual reintegration of employees back into the workplace prior to the expiry of the COVID-19 period.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.