Author: Bram Lecker
It’s tough to be imbued with the holiday spirit, considering the type of year we have had. Traditionally, more pink slips are handed out 6 weeks before the end of the year compared to any other time. However, this year was different. The job losses began in earnest over the summer, and the tap has not gone dry yet. On June 1, 2020, the Ontario government legislated an unpaid Infectious Disease Emergency Leave (IDEL). It kneecapped many employee rights and the provisions allow employers to conduct temporary layoffs for COVID-19 related reasons until January 2, 2021.
This set off a rather unfortunate turn of events for employees. Unscrupulous employers have conveniently used it as a front to avoid recalling workers when the phased reopening of the economy began in September. Many resumed operations, with new hires, ignoring those they had sent home at the beginning of the pandemic. They hoped to frustrate workers they did not want back into finding work elsewhere, so they could avoid the butcher’s bill of a termination. In recent weeks, another odious trend seems to be emerging. As the year comes to an end, termination notices are flying out like confetti at a Santa Clause parade. Some employers, it seems, believe this will help them avoid paying out year-end bonuses. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Bonuses earned for work performed during the year must be paid out, whether you are there on December 31st, or not.
Such employers count on employees’ ignorance of the law, and it has become more important than ever for workers to understand their rights. We hope the series of blogs below help you navigate your workplace matters equitably, safely, and constructively.
COVID-19: Employee Rights & Entitlements
IDEL provisions introduced by the Ontario government allow employers to keep workers on an unpaid leave of absence, but only for COVID-19 related reasons. They are temporary provisions and expire on January 2, 2021. Employees must remain vigilant about their employment status. Contact us for a free assessment if you feel something is awry about your employment situation.
Legally, layoffs differ from terminations, along with your rights and entitlements. The COVID-19 pandemic has created ambiguity that allows some employers to walk the fine line between the two with no benefit to workers. This blog will help you understand the legal principles between the two and you should consult a lawyer if you have questions about your specific situation.
Employers cannot place employees on illegal layoffs. Unfortunately, the pandemic has encouraged unscrupulous employers to go about this unpleasant business shamelessly. What appears to fuel their audacity is the fact that employees often inadequately understand their rights. If your employer has indicated there is insufficient work to recall you, but business is booming with a new crew at the helm, contact us right away.
Ontario’s workplace health and safety laws adequately cover what COVID-19 has brought into workplaces. Employees simply need to adapt and adjust to new working conditions so everyone remains safe at work. While specific measures differ by sector, your employer may require you to wear personal protective equipment, disinfect surfaces, and maintain physical distancing. Here is what all employees should know about this matter.
We cannot stand in for Santa Claus this time of year. However, we can help if you require clarity about your employment status or are unexpectedly terminated from your employment. We will review your compensation package to ensure it is fair. And if not, we are well equipped to represent your rights to get your full entitlements for you, from your employer.
We wish you a safe and healthy holiday season.
If you enjoyed this blog, please consider sharing it