A lot of members are facing the possibility of being laid off. Below is a list of some of the more frequently asked questions we are receiving with answers:

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WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BE LAID OFF OF WORK?

A layoff is the suspension of an employee or group of employees from employment due to business reasons. This can either be temporary or permanent.

WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEM A TEMPORARY AND A PERMANENT LAYOFF?

A temporary layoff indicates the possibility of returning to work. The laid off employee would still be entitled to employment insurance benefits and their seniority would be maintained. Depending on your collective agreement, you could retain recall rights for a period of anywhere between 6 months and 2 years.

A permanent layoff indicates that there is no possibility of returning to work. The laid off employee would still be entitled to employment insurance benefits and would receive any severance pay as outlined in the collective agreement or applicable legislation. If the person were to apply for a new job with the employer, they would lose all seniority rights.

WHAT DOES IT MEAN IF THE EMPLOYER IS ASKING ME FOR VOLUNTARY LAYOFF?

A voluntary layoff is one in which employees volunteer to take a hiatus from work. It can be either temporarily or permanently.

IF I DON’T VOLUNTEER, CAN I STILL BE LAID OFF?

Yes. If the employer still feels it must implement lay offs then they can choose who they wish to layoff. The decision as to who should go may be based on merit if seniority rights have not been negotiated in the collective agreement.

IF I AM LAID OFF, VOLUNTARILY OR NOT, DO I GET BENEFITS?

Normally no. This is strictly a decision of the employer. Some contracts will continue to cover during your layoff period under a cost-sharing arrangement. This may mean that you will have to pay up to 100% of the costs.

CAN I PAY INTO MY PENSION PLAN?

Normally in a layoff situation the answer is no. Contributions to pensions cease or are suspended in the case of temporary layoffs.

BECAUSE OF THE CORONAVIRUS, WILL MY EMPLOYER TOP UP MY EI BENEFITS DURING THE LAYOFF PERIOD?

Some employers are offering employment insurance top-up under a Supplemental Unemployment Benefit (SUB) Plan. It is something that employers would have applied for with government in advance. Please check with your employer to see if your workplace has a SUB plan or something similar.

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Regardless of the type of layoff, the employer should be providing a notice period.

Federal, provincial and territorial governments have all announced plans to mitigate the financial impact on Canadian families. For more information, please visit the PSAC website.

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