On May 29, 2020, the Ontario Government introduced Regulation 228/20: Infectious Disease Emergency Leave under the Employment Standards Act, 2000 (“ESA”). Our earlier briefing note on Regulation 228/20 can be found here.
Under Regulation 228/20, the deemed Infectious Disease Emergency Leave was set to expire September 4, 2020.
On September 3, 2020, the Government issued an announcement that affects employers in the province of Ontario in 2 significant ways.
Temporary Layoff is Extended to January 2, 2021
Where a non-unionized employee has been laid off for COVID-19 related reasons, the layoff may not continue until January 2, 2021 (extend from the previous September 4, 2020 date) without a deemed termination and resulting obligations under the ESA. Employees on layoff will continue to be deemed to be on an Infectious Disease Emergency Leave.
Unless the leave is further extended beyond January 2, 2021, the temporary layoff provisions under the ESA will “reset” and permit continued periods of layoff contemplated by the ESA in the normal course.
Leave Intended for Childcare Purposes
Where an employee opts not to send their child to school out of concern for COVID-19, and the employee is required to provide childcare as a result, the employee is deemed to be on an Infectious Disease Emergency Leave. While on the Infectious Disease Emergency Leave, the employee is entitled to the same statutory protections afforded during other ESA leaves.
A link may be found to the Ontario Government issued release,
As a result of the most recent announcement, employers are recommended to reconsider workplace plans which contemplated terminations in anticipation of the previous, and now revised, end of the Infections Disease Emergency Leave.