Interpretation Guidelines Manual British Columbia Employment Standards Act and Regulations


ESA Section 62 – Definition (week of layoff)


Text of Legislation
Policy Interpretation
Related Information


This section explains the term “week of layoff” as it applies to Part 8 Termination of Employment.

Text of Legislation

62. In this Part, "week of layoff" means a week in which an employee earns less than 50% of the employee's weekly wages, at the regular wage, averaged over the previous 8 weeks.

Policy Interpretation

An employer may only temporarily lay off an employee if the right to do so exists within the employment relationship; either by a term of the employment agreement, by a well-known industry-wide practice, or with the consent of the employee. (See s.1(1), definition of “temporary layoff.)

In the absence of any of these factors, a reduction of hours may be considered by the Director to be a substantial alteration of employment which constitutes a termination of employment.

Any week in which an employee earns less than 50% of regular wages is considered to be a week of layoff for purposes of Part 8.


An employee normally works an 8-hour shift on Monday to Friday of each week. At the end of his Tuesday shift he is approached by his supervisor and informed that he is not required to report to work for the rest of the week due to a shortage of business. His normal 40 hour week was reduced to 16 hours (more than 50%) therefore, this week is considered to be a ‘week of layoff” for purposes of this section.

If an employer can show that the reduction of an employee’s hours as shown in the above example is allowed by the employment relationship, the layoff provisions of the Act will apply. If nothing in the employment relationship entitles the employer to reduce hours in this manner, the actions of the employer in this example may be deemed to be a termination of employment.

Related Information

Related sections of the Act or Regulation




See Employment Standards Factsheets


Termination of Employment

Collective Agreements and the Employment Standards Act