Deadline approaching for B.C. businesses to apply for temporary layoff extensions

Deadline approaching for B.C. businesses to apply for temporary layoff extensions
Province of BC/File photo
Harry Bains, Minister of Labour, discusses recently released WorkSafeBC sector guidelines relating to BC's Restart Plan in May 2020.

The B.C. government is reminding people that the application deadline for employees and employers who need to extend temporary layoffs beyond Aug. 30 is rapidly approaching.

According to a press release from the province, businesses have two weeks in order to apply for a variance through the Employment Standards Branch.

Applications are due by August 25.

“While more and more businesses are reopening, we know there are still some businesses that won’t be able to recall staff back to work by the end of August,” said Harry Bains, Minister of Labour. “This new variance process will help maintain the link between employers and workers, so that when businesses are able to scale up their reopening, they have the skilled and experienced workers ready to resume their jobs – but only if the deadline is not missed.”

The online variance application is a simplified approach that helps businesses navigate the economic impacts of COVID-19, according to the government.

The redesigned process “replaces paper-based applications, allows all documents to be sent by email and reduces the burden on employers and employees by providing the templates and tools needed to apply,” reads a statement from the Ministry of Labour

To receive a variance, the government says that employers must survey employees eligible for an extension and a business must ensure it has more than 50 per cent support before submitting an application.

The province highlights that the Aug. 25 deadline is set to allow for all applications to be processed before the Aug.t 30 expiry date.

By enabling businesses and employees to “maintain ongoing relationships” through this temporary layoff variance process, the Ministry of Labour hopes that it helps for faster startups when a business is ready to resume operations.

Under B.C.’s Employment Standards Act, temporary layoffs related to COVID-19 can last up to 24 weeks, or until Aug. 30, before the layoff becomes permanent, adds the province.

Graham CoxGraham Cox

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