If you have laid-off workers, and that layoff wasn’t voluntary (e.g. you told the employee to stop working vs. them asking to take a leave), and that layoff was because of COVID-19 (reduction in sales, mandated closure, etc.), then your employees can be deemed to be on IDEL. IDEL is a protected class of leave, designed to provide the employer with protection from the regular layoff timelines in the Employment Standards Act (ESA) specifically from constructive dismissal claims under ESA for temporary reduction in hours or wages related to COVID-19.
Retail Council of Canada wants to clarify what an employer’s options are on September 5, 2020: If your sales remain low, and you believe having staff return to work is unnecessary as of September 5, 2020, you are able to temporarily layoff those employees who were on IDEL, under the provisions of the ESA.
Employees currently on IDEL can be temporarily laid-off for 13 weeks (period ending December 4, 2020) if that employee’s health benefits are not paid, and for up to 35 weeks (period ending May 7th, 2021) if the employee’s benefits are continually paid as of September 5, 2020. For more information call the Employment Standards Information Centre at 1-800-531-5551.