BC Introduces Streamlined COVID-19 Temporary Layoff Variance Application


Under the BC Employment Standards Act, the time period for a temporary layoff related to COVID-19 may be extended to a maximum of 24 weeks, ending on or before August 30, 2020. Employers who plan to recall employees on a date that falls after August 30, 2020 can now submit a joint application to extend a temporary layoff through the Employment Standards Branch (ESB) by August 25, 2020 to receive a decision by August 30, 2020. This is done through a variance to the Employment Standards Act.


In order to grant a variance extending the time period for a temporary layoff, the ESB Director must be satisfied the variance will facilitate the preservation of the employer’s operations. The employer applying needs to confirm and attest that the variance application helps preserve the employer’s operations.

Steps for joint applications to extend a temporary layoff

Communicate intention to apply

Employers must email/communicate to employee the employer’s intention, anticipated recall date and ask for consent. At least 51% of the affected employees must consent to the joint application. A template email is available here. In your email to employees, include link to form for them to submit confirming their consent.

Prepare list of affected employees

It is recommended to prepare a list of affected employees to submit with application for faster processing. Template available here.

Submit application

Submit your application online. The application can also be submitted by emailing this form, although this method will take longer.

Once application is decided, the employer will receive a copy of the decision. The conditions in the variance must be followed and a copy of the variance must be posted at the worksite. It is recommended a copy is also sent to employees via email.


Should you have any questions about preparing and submitting an expedited variance application, contact our Employment & Labour Group today.

Check out our Related Articles here.

Note to our Readers: This is not legal advice. If you are looking for legal advice in relation to a particular matter, please contact our Employment & Labour Group.



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