COVID-19 Temporary Layoffs

Navigating layoffs is always hard, especially in these uncertain times. Recent changes to temporary layoffs means employees and employers have more options for support. 
Together, employers and employees can apply to extend temporary layoffs due to COVID-19. Employees have rights and options as part of the application process.

Last updated: July 24, 2020

Extend a COVID-19 Temporary Layoff with a Variance

The maximum length of a temporary layoff related to COVID-19 was extended to 24 weeks, ending on or before August 30, 2020.

Employers and employees can apply together to the Employment Standards Branch for a variance to extend a temporary layoff. Applications submitted by August 25, 2020 will be processed before August 30, 2020.

This process is called a variance because it amends part of the Employment Standards Act. Variances allow work situations that don't strictly meet B.C. employment standards but follow their purposes, such as an extension to a temporary layoff.


If you've been laid off due to COVID-19 and your employer is not ready to recall you back to work, you have options.

Get informed about your options


Employers with plans to recall employees by a specific date after August 30, 2020 can submit an application online.

Apply to extend a temporary layoff

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