Extend a COVID-19 temporary layoff

Last updated: December 3, 2020

Employees in British Columbia cannot be laid off for more than 13 weeks in any given 20-week period. If an employee is not recalled to work after 13 weeks, the layoff becomes a termination of employmentTogether, employers and employees can apply for a variance to extend a layoff beyond 13 weeks in a 20-week period.


Layoffs that began before June 1, 2020

Two time-limited extensions were made to the Employment Standards Act allowing COVID-19 layoffs to last longer than the usual 13 weeks in 20 weeks. These extensions have now expired. Workplaces who wished to extend pre-June 1, 2020 layoffs past August 30, 2020 required a variance.

If your workplace received a variance extending the temporary layoff period and you need to extend it further, you must apply to renew your variance before it expires.

For COVID-19 layoffs that began before June 1, 2020 and were not extended, see termination of employment.


New COVID-19 layoffs

If your workplace has laid off employees since June 1, 2020, a layoff of more than 13 weeks in any 20-week period will be considered a termination of employment unless you apply for a variance.

Apply to extend a temporary layoff

Renew an existing variance

If your workplace received a variance extending a layoff, you will need to renew your variance before it expires. If your variance has expired and employees were not recalled, see termination of employment.

Renew your variance before it expires


Get informed about your options

If you're an employee laid off due to COVID-19 and your employer is not ready to recall you back to work, you have rights and options.

Get informed about your options


Contact the Employment Standards Branch

The Employment Standards Branch administers the Employment Standards Act and Regulation.

Ask a question

Get confidential support and information about temporary layoffs, variances and B.C. employment standards.

Contact Employment Standards

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