“This regulation provides relief to any employer that had temporarily laid off or reduced the wages and/or hours of a non-union employee due to COVID-19.”
The Ontario Government has extended the applicable dates of the paid IDEL and Temporary Lay-off exceptions.
Paid IDEL Extended to July 31, 2022
When first introduced by way of amendments to the Employment Standards Act (“ESA”), paid IDEL entitled an employee to up to three days of paid IDEL between April 19, 2021, and September 25, 2021. That latter date was then extended to December 31, 2021, and now to July 31, 2022. All other components of the paid IDEL program remain unchanged.
Temporary Lay-off Exceptions Extended to July 30, 2022
Initially, the Infectious Disease Emergency Leave Regulation (“IDEL Regulation”) introduced in May 2020, applied to a temporary layoff or reduction in wages and/or hours between March 1, 2020 and September 4, 2020 (the “COVID-19 Period”). The COVID-19 Period was extended several times during 2021 and now to July 30, 2022.
This regulation provides relief to any employer that had temporarily laid off or reduced the wages and/or hours of a non-union employee due to COVID-19. If this regulation had not been passed, any such layoff or wage/hour reduction would have crystallized into a termination of employment, triggering notice of termination and severance pay obligations. The IDEL Regulation largely exempts any such layoff or reduction from being deemed a termination of employment, such that there is no obligation to provide ESA notice or severance pay. The employee is deemed to be on an ‘infectious disease emergency leave’ or IDEL.
Accordingly, an employee who has been laid off or had their wages and/or hours reduced for COVID-19 related reasons can continue to be on an IDEL until July 30, 2022, without triggering termination and severance pay obligations under the ESA. Note an exception applies, however, in the case of a layoff due to a permanent discontinuance of business, in which case the employee is entitled to severance pay under the ESA.
[see Government of Ontario: https://www.ontario.ca/document/your-guide-employment-standards-act-0/infectious-disease-emergency-leave ]