The provincial government of Ontario announced today the introduction of the Infectious Disease Emergency Leave.
The new leave, retroactive to March 1, 2020, and expiring six weeks after the declared emergency ends will save employers having to pay out a severance and provide notice to employees.
When the pandemic hit Ontario, many employers were forced to temporarily layoff their employees. Under original ESA rules, the temporary layoff would lead to termination after 13 weeks. Because the pandemic is lasting longer than anticipated, the Infectious Disease Emergency Leave is now in place, ensuring no costly terminations through no fault of either the employee or employer.
Rather than being on a temporary layoff, an employee not for their employer for COVID-19 -related reasons, during the COVID-19 period, is deemed to be on unpaid leave under the Emergency Leave: Declared Emergencies and Infectious Disease Emergencies provisions of the ESA (enacted in March 2020).
For more information on the Infectious Disease Emergency Leave visit the Ontario Employment Standards website here