Temporary Layoffs and Your Small Business.

When there’s a slowdown in business, you may want to think about temporary layoffs. This is when you cut back or stop an employee’s work without ending their employment.

But temporary layoffs are just that – temporary. You must recall the staff you’ve laid off. There are many legal concerns around this. Laying off workers correctly is always in your best interest. And recalling them at the right time helps you avoid wrongful dismissal claims.

If you need expert support, call our advisors today. They’ll help you make sense of Ontario’s rules for temporary layoffs.

Rules for Temporary Layoffs in Ontario.

When done right, temporary layoffs can help stabilize your business. With the current pandemic, employers may have to let their staff go for the time being. Our experts can ensure you’re following HR best practices. And help you stay safe from legal disputes or pay outs when doing so.

Ontario’s Employment Standards Act (ESA) sets the rules for layoffs. The most crucial to keep in mind are:

  • You don’t have to give notice as temporary layoffs are effective immediately
  • A layoff can become a termination under certain conditions
  • If a layoff becomes a termination, staff are entitled to termination pay or severance
  • Employment contract must have terms for temporary layoffs (or both parties must agree to them)

If you need help with staying complaint, call our friendly experts. They are available 24/7 to support you.

Changing Rules Due to the Current Health Crisis

Ontario’s ESA was amended in 2020 because of the pandemic. While employers may have to extend layoffs or start recalling their staff, knowing the impact of these changes is crucial.

Workers who are temporarily laid off are deemed to be on an infectious disease emergency leave. Staff can be kept on this leave until July 3, 2021. After which the normal rules will resume. Meaning you will have to recall or give your staff termination pay once these changes expire.

Have more questions about temporary layoffs?

Knowing the ins-and-outs of temporary layoffs is vital to your business. Our HR experts will help you make sense of Ontario’s rules. We have the advice and answers to keep you compliant, avoid needless costs, and set you up for success.

Call our dedicated advice line today at, 1(833) 247-3650.