In Spring 2020, the Ontario government made a regulation under the Employment Standards Act, 2000 (ESA) in response to COVID-19. The rules in the regulation apply during the COVID-19 period which is from March 1, 2020, to July 30, 2022.
During the COVID-19 period, a non-unionized employee is deemed to be on a job-protected UNPAID infectious disease emergency leave (IDEL) if their employer has temporarily reduced or eliminated their hours of work because of COVID-19.
- This means that a non-unionized employee is not considered to be laid off if their employer temporarily reduced or temporarily eliminated their hours of work or wages for reasons related to COVID-19.
- A non-unionized employee is not considered to be constructively dismissed under the ESA if their employer temporarily reduces or temporarily eliminates their hours of work or wages for reasons related to COVID-19.
Beginning on July 31, 2022 regular ESA rules come into effect:
- Employees will no longer be deemed to be on unpaid infectious disease emergency leave.
- The ESAs regular rules around constructive dismissal will resume. This means a significant reduction or elimination of an employee’s hours of work or wages may be considered a constructive dismissal under the ESA, even if it was done for reasons related to COVID‑19.
- The ESAs regular rules around temporary layoff will also resume. For practical purposes, an employee’s temporary layoff clock re-sets on July 31, 2022.