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 employment. Together, employers and employees can apply for a variance to extend a layoff beyond 13 weeks in a 20-week period.
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.
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.
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Get confidential support and information about temporary layoffs, variances and B.C. employment standards.
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