Businesses looking to extend temporary layoffs must apply by Aug. 25

The deadline for employers to extend their temporary layoffs beyond Aug. 30 is looming.

The provincial government is asking businesses requiring an extension to apply for a variance using the Employment Standards Branch’s new online application by Aug. 25.

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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. However, the temporary layoff variance process is intended to maintain the relationship between businesses and their employees, according to the provincial government.

“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, B.C.’s 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.”

Last month, the Ministry of Labour launched a simplified variance application process, aimed at helping businesses navigate the economic impacts of COVID-19.

The redesigned process replaces paper-based applications, allowing all documents to be sent by email and reduces the burden on employers and employees by providing the templates and tools needed to apply.

The province says that in order to receive a variance, an employer must survey employees eligible for the temporary layoff extension, and the business must ensure it has more than 50 per cent support before applying.

Employers are asked to apply as soon as possible, however, the deadline for employers and employees to jointly apply for an extension is Aug. 25, in order to ensure all applications can be processed by the Aug. 30 expiry date.

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