Following what it said were conversations with business and worker representatives, the BC government announced on Thursday that it has extended the temporary layoffs provisions to a maximum of 24 weeks during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We heard loud and clear from employers that they need this extension,” said BC Labour Minister Harry Bains. “This will also give additional time to ensure that employers and workers are able to craft agreements if there is a need to further extend temporary layoffs, while still protecting workers’ rights to compensation for length of service.”
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Bains said the goal of the extension – and the provisions – “is to maintain connections between employers and workers who have a joint interest in supporting the economic recovery of businesses in BC and the jobs that go with them.”
Employers “who are not able to return to full operations and need additional time can do so with agreement from their employees,” he added.
However, “we expect those employees will be recalled when operations have resumed.”
In making the announcement, the province noted that Section 72 of the BC Employment Standards Act allows employers and workers to extend temporary layoffs by making a joint application to the Employment Standards Branch. Discussions will continue between the province and those who represent workers and employers.
The province said the goal of these discussions is to “ensure the Section 72 applications are processed in a timely and effective manner to support economic recovery and protect workers’ rights.”