COVID-19 Layoff Extensions and Overholt Law Firm News

By Preston I.A.D. Parsons and Gurpreet Gill

B.C. government extends temporary COVID-19 layoff provisions

On June 25, 2020, the B.C. government announced that where a layoff is necessitated by the COVID-19 pandemic, the temporary layoff period under the Employment Standards Act (ESA) can be extended by an employer to a maximum of 24 weeks. This extension will expire on August 30, 2020, the same date on which the federal Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) is also now set to expire.

The B.C. government previously amended the temporary layoff provisions on May 4, 2020, from 13 weeks to 16 weeks in any period of 20 consecutive weeks. Prior to the COVID-19 emergency the temporary layoff provision was only 13 weeks in any period of 20 consecutive weeks.

The purpose of the extension of the temporary layoff provisions is to provide workers and employers flexibility and to support businesses impacted by COVID-19 in their economic recovery. B.C.'s Minister of Labour, Harry Bains stated, "This extension will provide even more certainty and flexibility. 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."

If employers and workers require a further extension beyond August 30, 2020, employers may apply for variance under section 72 of the ESA to the Employment Standards Branch.

COVID-19: The Development of New Law

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought to the forefront many pressing legal questions that the Courts and administrative bodies will grapple with for years to come. Our team is already reviewing early case law arising out of the pandemic. Please stay tuned for future newsletters where we will highlight workplace law decisions arising out of the unique circumstances of this pandemic.

Firm News

Mohit Chhibber joins Overholt Law

Overholt Law is pleased to announce that Mohit Chhibber has joined the firm as an associate lawyer. Mohit practices in all the firm's core practice areas, as well as brings experience with a broad cross-section of immigration and refugee law to Overholt Law. Mohit is fluent in English, Hindi and Punjabi and is also a licensed lawyer in India. He received his LL.M. from the Peter A. Allard School of Law at UBC. He was called to the BC Bar in January 2020 upon completion of his Articles. Read his full bio here.

Michele Li joins Overholt Law

Overholt Law is pleased to announce that Michele Li has joined the firm as a legal administrative assistant. Michele pursued a career as a legal administrative assistant after obtaining her Bachelor of Arts degree at UBC. She has previous experience working in firms that specialize in family law and estate litigation. Read her full bio here.

Overholt Law celebrates 8 years

On June 18, 2020, Overholt Law celebrated 8 years of practice. We would like to thank our past and present clients for placing their trust in us over the years. We are proud of the many client relationships we have developed and look forward to continuing to deliver excellence in advising and representing our clients into the future.

Closing Remarks

We remain committed to bringing you notable workplace law updates as they become available and to providing you with the highest quality legal advice. Please note that most of our team are back working in the office with our COVID-19 Safety Plan protocols in place and all of our lawyers remain ready as always to assist you with your legal needs.