Many employers have availed themselves of the legislation enacted in Ontario creating Infectious Disease Emergency Leave.
The result has been that many employers have been able to kick the can of workforce restructure down the road for a year or longer with little or no wage payment to their employees. As employers consider reopening during a period of restrictions and prior to widespread vaccination, some may be considering reducing their employee complement.
The Employment Standards Act, however, prohibits termination from employment while an employee is on leave and employees treated in this manner are entitled to reinstatement with back wages, employers may be subject to Orders and fines imposed by the Employment Standards Branch, and employees can and will seek punitive damages in addition to pay in lieu of notice.
What to do if you’re an employer trying to navigate a shifting business environment or an employee suddenly jettisoned after an extended period of lay-off under the terms of the leave? The solutions to this complex problem can be surprisingly simple.