Infectious Disease Emergency Leave extended to July 3, 2021

An update that applies to non-unionized provincially regulated employers in Ontario.

The IDEL has been extended once again.  This does provide some protection for employers that have had to remain closed or have extended lay-offs.

This piece from Williams HR Law provides more info

On December 17, 2020, the Ontario government announced that it will extend the current temporary rules relating to layoffs until July 3, 2021. This is a major development that will give many Ontario employers struggling to recover from the business impact of COVID-19 more time before recalling their employees to work.

As many employers know and as addressed in our blog, in late May the provincial government temporarily changed the rules relating to temporary layoffs under the Employment Standards Act, 2000 (“ESA”). Generally, the ESA provides that employees can be temporarily laid off for up to 13 weeks in a 20-week period or 35 weeks in a 52-week period, depending on the circumstances, after which time their employment is deemed to be terminated if the layoff continues. However, the government effectively “paused” layoffs when it enacted the Infectious Disease Emergency Leave regulation (the “Regulation”) in late May. This new change will extend this “pause” until July 3, 2021.

The Regulation temporarily deems employees who had been laid off to instead be on a statutory Infectious Disease Emergency Leave (“IDEL”), rather than on layoff. This means that during the period when the Regulation is in effect, legally, employees who had been laid off since March are no longer considered to be on a temporary layoff under the ESA, and the usual rules pertaining to the duration of layoffs temporarily do not apply.

The temporary rules discussed above were scheduled to end on January 2, 2021, after which the usual rules related to layoff durations were scheduled to come into effect. However, if the government amends the Regulation as it has announced that it will, then the temporary rules will be extended until July 3, 2021.

For more information on what the planned extension would mean for employers, please read our blog regarding the previous extension of the temporary rules.