While being ‘temporarily’ let go might offer a glimmer of hope that you may get your job back at some point, there can still be a lot of uncertainty and stress. Firstly, you are temporarily out of a job. Secondly, there’s a chance that you might have been laid off with no notice, no severance, and subsequently no paycheque. And this could last a couple weeks, several months, or longer. In many cases, there’s also no guarantee that you will even have a job to return to. While your employer is entitled to certain rights, so are you. Looking for answers about temporary layoffs in Alberta? Wondering if you can afford an employment lawyer? We can help. Since 1976, Litco Law has helped balance the power for thousands of hard-working Albertans who have been unfairly or improperly let go by their employer temporarily or permanently. We’re generous with our time and our knowledge, and it won’t cost you anything to talk to one of our Calgary Temporary Layoff Lawyers.
Temporarily laid off in Alberta? Here’s what you need to know.
In light of Alberta’s recent economic climate, thousands of local businesses have been forced to drastically reduce numbers of staff or even close their doors. Rather than firing their employees, many employers would prefer to press pause on their employment relationships. This also saves employers from having to pay severance (at least not right away). Whatever the reason, you are now out of a job. You may be left wondering if you were fairly laid off or question whether your employer is acting within the law. We are here to address your top questions about temporary layoffs, as well as recent changes to Alberta’s employment laws as a result of COVID-19. Whether you were laid off as a direct result of the coronavirus pandemic, or another reason, we hope this article will shed some light on Alberta’s employment laws and your rights.
Can my employer temporarily lay me off without notice?
This is a common question we get asked. Alberta’s Employment Standards Code states that employers should provide adequate notice in writing, and clearly state that the layoff is temporary. However, there are exceptions to this rule. The code includes an exemption for unforeseeable circumstances (such as COVID-19), in which an employer can provide notice for temporary layoff “as soon as is practicable.” Or, in other words, as soon as possible. If you received little notice before being temporarily laid off, your employer may have had legal reason to do so. It’s always a good idea to speak with an employment lawyer to find out exactly what your rights are. At Litco Law, it won’t cost you anything to talk to a Calgary Temporary Layoff Lawyer today. Give us a call, send us an email, or shoot us a message in the chat.
How long can I be temporarily laid off for?
According to the original Employment Standards Code, an employee can be temporarily laid off up to a maximum of 60 days. However, this timeline was revisited and revised by the courts in June 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic:
If you were temporarily laid off for a reason unrelated to COVID-19…
- Before March 17, 2020 = maximum of 60 days in a 120-day period
- Between March 17 – June 17, 2020 = maximum of 120 consecutive days from the initial layoff date
- On or after June 18, 2020 = maximum of 90 days total in a 120-day period
If you were temporarily laid off due to COVID-19…
- Any date = 180 consecutive days from the initial layoff date
If you have been temporarily laid off for longer than the limits above, your employment is legally considered ended, and your employer must pay any termination or severance pay you are entitled to.
Note: Employers and employees can choose to sign an agreement that extends the layoff, but it must clearly outline regular benefits or wages to you during the layoff period. Payment may take the form of wages, employee pensions, or benefits. When payments cease, you are entitled to receive your termination pay.
Do I still get access to benefits and can I contribute to my pension plan while I am temporarily laid off?
During a temporary layoff period, employers are not required by law to continue making benefits or pension plan contributions. Have questions about your work benefits or pension after being laid off? Give us a call or email today.
Will I still get paid during temporary layoff?
Legally, your employer does not have to pay you. In some cases, there may be an agreement between you and your employer for payment, usually to extend your layoff period. If you have questions about payment during temporary layoff, or you would like to have a lawyer review an agreement your employer is asking you to sign, give us a call or email us today. You get all the legal answers you need – for free.
Can a temporary layoff become permanent?
Your former employer is NOT legally obligated to call you back to work after a temporary layoff, so be wary of hinging your plans on this (unless you have a written agreement otherwise). This uncertainty is part of what makes being temporarily laid off so stressful for many people. We typically advise anyone who has been temporarily laid off to apply for Employment Insurance, and then begin the process of looking for alternative work in case you do not get a call back. If your employer signed anything agreeing to recall you and has not followed through on their end of the agreement, talk to a lawyer right away. We can help answer any questions you might have and provide you with legal support if you have the grounds to make a claim. Call or email us today to learn more.
How much will it cost to hire a temporary layoff lawyer?
Worried you can’t afford an employment lawyer? At Litco Law, it won’t cost you anything to talk to a Calgary Temporary Layoff lawyer. Your first consultation is always free. The meter isn’t running, the clock isn’t ticking. We’ll answer your questions and give you a clear understanding of your legal options, without the legal jargon. And if you do choose us, we don’t get paid until you get paid. Have questions? Want to talk to a lawyer? Call or email us today.
In Alberta, if your employer fails to follow Canada’s Labour Code or Alberta’s Employment Standards Code, you may be eligible to make a wrongful dismissal claim and you have up to two years to make a claim or you lose your right to do so forever. But it’s important not to wait as there may be other important deadlines, or other circumstances that may affect the deadline or your claim. If you have any questions about the limitation period for your claim, call or email us for a free consultation with one of our Calgary Temporary Layoff Lawyers today.
Our Calgary Temporary Layoff Lawyers are here to help.
Knowing and understanding your rights can mean the difference of thousands of dollars or more in your pocket. If you’ve recently lost your job, we encourage you to seek legal advice as soon as possible. An experienced employment lawyer will be able to help you get a clear picture of what your options are and help you decide what to do next. Our first priority at Litco Law is to help you to understand your legal rights. In Alberta, your employer must abide by the rules of the Employment Standards Code and Alberta Human Rights Act. We believe in complete transparency, meaning that if it’s not in your best interest to pursue a claim, we’ll tell you. We are passionate about balancing the power for employees across all workplace-related legal matters to make sure you are treated fairly. You don’t have to go through this alone. Our team is here to answer your questions, support you through this difficult time and, most importantly, listen to you. Have questions? Give us a call or email today.