On July 30, 2020, we sent out a note to our clients and readers alerting you all that because the state of emergency in Ontario ended on July 24, 2020, the deemed Infectious Disease Emergency Leaves (“IDEL”) would be ending on September 4, 2020. On September 3, 2020, the Ontario government made another change. The deemed IDEL has now been extended until January 2, 2021. You can check out the Ontario government’s news release and get further details in the Ministry of Labour’s Guide.
So, the clock has been reset once again.
Does This Apply to Me?
This news applies to employees on a deemed IDEL. Employees who were laid off or had their hours reduced from March 1, 2020, until January 2, 2021, are on a deemed IDEL. During normal times, we would consider these employees to just be laid off. For more details on this, check out our blog on O. Reg 228/20. Instead of the IDEL lasting until 6 weeks after the end of the state of emergency, it now lasts until January 2, 2021.
The deemed IDEL will now continue to provide protection to employers from the regular layoff timelines in the Employment Standards Act (ESA), as well as protection from constructive dismissal claims under the ESA for temporary reductions in hours or wages related to COVID-19 until January 2, 2021.
Employees Who Are Voluntarily on the IDEL
Employees who are on the IDEL voluntarily, for example, those who needed to stop working in order to care for children while schools and daycare were closed, will remain on the IDEL until the circumstances leading to their leave change or until COVID-19 is no longer a designated disease under O. Reg 228/20. These employees are on a different type of IDEL than those who had their work hours reduced by the employer. These employees are also likely dwindling as schools and daycare are re-opening. Check out our blogs on family accommodation and school re-opening for more on these topics.
While we know that some of you have been preparing for today and transitioning your employees from the deemed IDEL to other arrangements, you now have until January 2, 2021, to do this.