COVID-19: Information for Employees and Employers

On this page, we provide information about workers’, employees’ and employers’  legal rights during these difficult times. The information on this page is updated as developments occur. We are trained in employment issues and we are ready to help.

What Employees Need to Know  – Answers to the Best 15 Frequently Asked Questions regarding COVID-19 and the Workplace

Employees often feel they are presented with ultimatums and cannot afford to pay for legal advice to learn their options under labor and employment law. After hundreds of free consultations, we have prepared a summary of what employees need to know. Read COVID-19 and the Workplace: What Employees Need to Know to make better decisions and plan ahead.

We also answer some hard questions such as:

  • Will I lose my job if I have to stay home to take care of the kids?
  • What happens to my employment if I get sick?
  • What can I do if it takes longer to find a new job now?
  • What is the Ontario government doing to help workers?

Read more at Ontario Employees Rights During the Coronavirus School Shutdown, Illness and Quarantine.

As of March 17, 2020, Ontario employees may be entitled to job-protected unpaid emergency leave if they will not be performing the duties of their position because of the COVID-19. Read more at Ontario Employees: Unpaid Job-Protected Emergency Leave Available to Those Affected by the COVID-19 Government Measures.

Some employees are concerned about coming into work, does that amount to job abandonment and does it mean that the employee is not entitled to compensation if fired? The standard for job abandonment is high. Learn more at Unexplained Absences and Tardiness: When Does it Become Job Abandonment?

Temporary Layoffs and Mass Layoffs

Temporary layoffs are becoming more frequent in Ontario due to coronavirus. What are your rights as an employee? Learn the legal definition of a layoff, when they are permitted, how long they can last and how they differ depending on the type of work week you have. Learn more at Temporary Layoffs in Ontario Due to Coronavirus and Employee Rights.

NEW: In this video, Employment Lawyer Andrew Monkhouse speaks about COVID-19 temporary layoffs: When can employers layoff employees? If my employer is suffering financially do I lose my rights? What is your advice to employers and employees during this time? Watch video [3.43 min].

When terminating more than 50 employees, employers must follow specific procedures to comply with the Employment Standards Act in Ontario. Learn more at Special Rules for Mass Terminations.

Bank employees, flight attendants, interprovincial truckers and those working in telecommunication are generally federally regulated employees. Read Federally Regulated Employees and COVID-19 to learn whether you are federally regulated and your entitlements under the Canada Labour Code.

EI, CERB – Government Support for Workers

On September 4, 2020, the government announced a new simplified EI program, read New Increased Access to EI and Additional Recovery Benefits for Canadians (Effective September 27, 2020) to learn more.

Changes have been made to the Employment Insurance rules for employees that are required to self-quarantine. Now employees can make a claim for sickness benefits when medical reasons are preventing them from working. Find out more about income support in Government Support for Employees During COVID-19: Employment Insurance, Temporary and Long Term Support. This includes Employment Insurance, EI Sickness Benefit, Canada Emergency Response Benefit, Work Sharing, Supplemental Unemployment Benefit Program and Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy.

On May 22, 2020, the Federal Government introduced online questionnaires to help individuals and businesses to determine which COVID-19 government benefits and support programs they can access.

Short-Term and Long-Term Disability and COVID-19

Employees who have been laid off during the coronavirus pandemic often still have access to their benefits and might be able to apply for disability benefits if they are unable to work for medical reasons including but not limited to anxiety, depression or acute stress (related to the pandemic or not). Read Employee Rights: Short-Term and Long-Term Disability During COVID-19 to learn how your benefits can help during these times.

What Employers Need to Know – Answers to the Best Frequently Asked Questions regarding COVID-19 and the Workplace

Employers need to balance keeping employees on payroll and conserving cash in the face of the coronavirus (COVID-19). Read Employers Frequently Asked Questions About COVID-19 for answers regarding wage subsidies, SUB Plans and Work-Sharing, termination and layoffs.

Preparing to Reopen the Workplace after COVID-19

Employers are now working towards reopening their businesses and prepare for the new requirements to keep workplaces safe and productive. Our infographic How to Make a Decision to Return to Work after the COVID-19 Lockdown provides a flow chart for decision making. Read some helpful pointers of what employers should consider at Ontario Reopening Plan: How to Return to Work after COVID-19.

Stage 3 of the Reopening has been extended to all of Ontario, including Toronto, read our tips for employees returning to work and how to deal with privacy, health, child care and public transit concerns at Toronto Stage 3 Reopening: Information for Employees.

COVID-19: Canadian Wage Subsidies, Small Businesses and the Self-Employed

On April 11, 2020, the Canadian Parliament passed landmark legislation to help businesses and employees through the COVID-19 pandemic and to implement the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy. We have reviewed the legislation to discern what it brings for the self-employed and small businesses, read our analysis here COVID-19: Canadian Wage Subsidies, Small Businesses and the Self-Employed.

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    Call us for a free 30 minute phone consultation at 416-907-9249 or submit a callback request. We endeavor to phone you back once we have reviewed the information, calls will be Monday to Friday between 9:00 AM and 5:00 PM: