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When do temporary layoffs become permanent firings in Alberta?

Updated: Aug 25, 2020

The Covid 19 situation has led to many layoffs within Alberta. Under the Employment Standards Code of Alberta, temporary layoffs are in effect for 180 days. After that time, without something more, those temporary layoffs convert into terminations, for which severance will be payable.


Alberta has 2 systems dealing with severance: Employment Standards which sets out statutory minimums for severance, and the common law (judge made law) which has a different criteria for severance. It appears based on the Alberta Court of Appeal Case inn Vrana v. Procor 2004ABCA126, that the right to make an appeal to Employment Standards or sue for termination is suspended during a temporary lay off.


Extending the time to 180 days


The Government of Alberta passed Bill 24, the COVID-19 Pandemic Response Statutes Amendment Act which extended the layoff period to 180 days (6months), At the end of that time that if an employer wants to extend it, the employer and the employee must have an agreement that the employee will receive wages, pension or benefit payments instead of having a layoff period limited to 180 days. We anticipate this will become a major issue in mid-September, 2020.


If you are an Employer or Employee requiring assistance navigating these matters please contact Floden Ward today.


The information contained in this article is not legal advice. No solicitor client relationship is formed through this article. The reader is encouraged to retain counsel for legal advice in these matters.






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