Topic: Coronavirus

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Conducting Workplace Investigations… in a Pandemic

This year has created innumerable challenges for employers— including the challenge of how to effectively conduct a workplace investigation when health and safety protocols demand a certain degree of separation. Fortunately, the same Do’s and Don’ts still apply to employers, whether they are conducting an investigation two meters apart or virtually through Zoom.

  • Don’t (inexcusably) delay: Memories fade over time and adjudicators may interpret delay as a sign that the conduct is insignificant or that the conduct is condoned. This does not mean that investigations need to be rushed, however— on the contrary, hasty investigations can be equally fatal.  Best
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Long-awaited relief for federally regulated employers: Layoff periods extended further

To give federally regulated employers more time to recall employees due to the COVID-19 pandemic, certain layoff periods under the Canada Labour Standards Regulations have (again) been temporarily extended as of November 9, 2020, as follows:

Employee laid off before March 31, 2020

  • Three-month layoff: If an employee is laid off for a period of three months or less before March 31, 2020, the period is extended by nine months after the date on which it would otherwise end. As a result, the employer has 12 months to recall the employee before the layoff is deemed a termination of employment.
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Un soulagement très attendu pour les employeurs sous réglementation fédérale : nouvelle prolongation des périodes de mise à pied

Dans le but de donner aux employeurs sous réglementation fédérale plus de temps pour rappeler les employés mis à pied en raison de la COVID-19, certaines périodes de mise à pied en vertu du Règlement du Canada sur les normes du travail ont (de nouveau) été temporairement prolongées, et ce, à compter du 9 novembre. Voici les points à retenir:

Employé mis à pied avant le 31 mars 2020

  • Mise à pied de 3 mois: Si un employé est mis à pied pour une période de 3 mois ou moins avant le 31 mars 2020, le délai est prolongé de
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Contexte de pandémie : un arbitre se penche sur les droits et obligations des employeurs québécois en matière de télétravail

Dans une très récente décision rendue le 26 octobre 2020[1], l’arbitre Me Jean-François La Forge (l’Arbitre) a rejeté la demande d’ordonnance de sauvegarde du Syndicat des fonctionnaires municipaux de Québec (le Syndicat) visant à forcer la Ville de Québec (la Ville) à favoriser le télétravail.

Ce faisant, l’Arbitre a analysé les décrets récemment adoptés par le gouvernement du Québec afin de protéger la santé de la population dans le contexte de pandémie mondiale de la COVID-19 et a précisé, à cette occasion, certains des droits et obligations de l’employeur en matière de télétravail.

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Guidance published on the Extension of the UK Furlough Scheme

Further to our blog post on 5 November, when the UK Government announced that the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) will remain open until 31 March 2021, the Government has now published detailed guidance on the extension of the scheme. The guidance is comprised of a number of different documents covering such matters as which employees can be claimed for and how to calculate the claim under the scheme.

The main points to note from the guidance are as follows:

  • For the period 1 November 2020 to 31 January 2021 the Government will pay 80% of wages for hours not
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UK Job Retention Scheme extended until 31 March 2021

Further to our post about the extension of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS), the Chancellor announced on 5 November that the CJRS (also known as the furlough scheme) will remain open until 31 March 2021. The Government also published a policy paper setting out further details of the CJRS, confirming that the scheme rules will remain the same except where indicated otherwise.

The main points to note are that:

  • For claim periods running to January 2021, employees will receive 80% of their usual salary for hours not worked, up to a maximum of £2,500 per month. The £2,500 cap
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Six things you need to know about doing business during Alert Level 1

The national state of disaster has been extended to 15 November 2020, and a further extension is imminent. Employers must become comfortable with the regulatory framework under alert level 1. Here are six things to keep in mind to ensure your business is compliant.

  1. Risk assessments and workplace plans

An employer is required to have a workplace plan and risk assessment, in compliance with the latest Directive from the Department of Employment and Labour issued on 1 October 2020. If your organisation’s plan or risk assessment was implemented prior to this date, it is likely that you are no longer … Continue Reading

Five steps to take when an employee tests positive for COVID-19 in the workplace

With more employers embracing the return to work, employers must be up to speed on what is currently required when an employee becomes infected with COVID-19 at the workplace. Here are 5 practical steps to take when an employee is infected at your workplace:

Step 1: Report

If an employee is confirmed to have contracted COVID-19 at the workplace, an employer must immediately inform the:

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Sick leave under German employment law: Termination, medical certificates by phone and latest topics

Termination in case of the threat of taking sick leave

Employees who respond to an instruction by their employer with the threat of taking sick leave can be dismissed without notice. It is irrelevant whether the employee actually falls ill later or whether the instruction by the employer was unlawful. In a recent decision, the Higher Labor Court Rhineland-Palatinate (LAG Rhineland-Palatinate, 21.7.2020 – 8 Sa 430/19) has once again confirmed the previous ruling of the Federal Labour Court.… Continue Reading

Furlough Scheme extended and the Job Support Scheme postponed

On 31 October 2020, the UK Government announced a the new national lockdown due to begin on Thursday 5 November. On the same day, the Government announced that the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS), which was due to come to an end on that day, would be extended to continue during the period of lockdown. The Job Support Scheme (JSS), which was due to come into effect on 1 November as a replacement scheme, has now been postponed until the CJRS ends.

The level of support available under the CJRS during November mirrors that which was available under the CJRS … Continue Reading

Chancellor announces amendments to the UK Job Support Scheme

As we announced in our blog post here on 24 September the UK Chancellor outlined additional government support to help businesses and workers impacted by COVID-19, which would come into force once the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) ends on 31 October 2020. However, with further restrictions being placed on businesses and the introduction of a three tier lockdown, the Government announced on 22 October that the level of support to be provided under the Job Support Scheme (JSS) would be increased.

The JSS relating to businesses that can remain open has been renamed the Job Support Scheme Open (JSS … Continue Reading

Job Support Scheme – Expansion for Closed Business Premises

In our previous blog post here  we told you about the Job Support Scheme (JSS), which is due to come into force on 1 November, and will provide support to employers where employees work reduced working hours. On 9 October, the Government announced an extension of the JSS to provide temporary support to businesses whose premises are legally required to close as a direct result of Coronavirus restrictions set out by one or more of the four governments of the UK. The purpose of this expansion is to help businesses through that temporary closure, by supporting the wage costs of … Continue Reading

UK Migrants stranded abroad due to COVID-19. – will their ability to settle in the UK or apply for further leave to remain be impacted?

The effects of the global pandemic are far reaching; few have been unaffected by measures and restrictions introduced in response to the spread of COVID-19. As borders have closed and visa processing services have been suspended, those living and working outside their home jurisdictions have, and continue to face, uncertain times.

Some migrants made the decision to return to their home jurisdictions as the reality of long term border restrictions unravelled, worried they would be unable to see family for unknown periods of time. As this coincided with widespread working from home, many employers permitted their employees to continue to … Continue Reading

Chancellor announces new Job Support Scheme

The UK Chancellor has outlined additional government support to help businesses and workers impacted by COVID-19.

There had been calls from businesses for the chancellor to help protect jobs once the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) ends on 31 October 2020. As a result the chancellor has announced the new Job Support Scheme which will be introduced from 1 November to protect viable jobs in businesses facing lower demand over the winter months due to COVID-19. The scheme protects employees who are in work and will contribute towards the wages of employees who are working fewer than normal hours due … Continue Reading

Legacy Employers: Who are they? Can they still access the temporary JobKeeper enabling directions under the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth)?

When extending Part 6-4C of the Fair Work Act (Cth) (FW Act), the government recognised there would be employers who had previously qualified for the JobKeeper scheme, but who would no longer qualify to participate in the scheme following its extension past the end of September 2020.… Continue Reading

Mise à jour sur les lignes directrices des Cours fédérales sur la COVID-19

La Cour d’appel fédérale (CAF) a fourni une mise à jour sur les lignes directrices concernant la reprise des audiences débutant le 1er septembre 2020 et a clarifié l’effet de la Loi sur les délais et autres périodes (COVID-19) fédérale concernant les délais quant au commencement et à la conduite des litiges à la CAF. Tant la CAF que la Cour fédérale ont confirmé que l’ensemble des directives à la pratique, des jugements, des ordonnances et des directives émanant des deux tribunaux restaient pleinement en vigueur.

Reprise des audiences en personne

Le 1er septembre 2020, la CAF a … Continue Reading

Testing employees for COVID-19, self-isolation and sick pay

On 10 September the Department of Health and Social Care published guidance for employers on the legal obligations and matters that they need to consider if planning to introduce their own testing for COVID-19. With current infection rates increasing this is ever more important for employers to help protect business continuity. In addition, employers need to be up to date with guidance and legislation regarding self-isolation and sick pay.

Government guidance on testing

The guidance clarifies that employers should not be using the NHS Test and Trace service for testing their employees. That service is for those who display symptoms … Continue Reading

Employés qui s’absentent en raison de la pandémie : le gouvernement du Québec adopte des protections additionnelles

Le 9 septembre dernier, le gouvernement du Québec a adopté le nouveau décret 943-2020 (le Décret), lequel, comme l’a confirmé le ministre du Travail, de l’Emploi et de la Solidarité sociale dans une annonce gouvernementale communiquée à cet égard le même jour, vise notamment à protéger le lien d’emploi des employés devant s’absenter du travail en raison de la COVID-19.

Plus précisément, les nouvelles mesures interdisent à un employeur d’imposer toute sanction ou encore d’exercer des mesures discriminatoires ou des représailles à l’endroit d’un employé, et ce, au motif qu’il s’absente du travail et que cette absence découle du … Continue Reading

Everyone Needs a Break Sometimes: Employer Rights and Obligations around Employee Vacation in British Columbia

The COVID-19 pandemic has put much on hold, including many vacation plans. As travel remains restricted, some employees may be interested in postponing vacation until greater and safer options become available. However, employers that are continuing to experience slowed operations may prefer for employees to use up their vacation entitlement sooner rather than later. For this reason, as the end of summer nears, a number of employers may well be seeking clarification as to what rights and obligations they have with respect to employee vacation.

Employer obligations regarding employee vacation

Under the British Columbia Employment Standards Act (“ESA”), … Continue Reading

L’obligation de se couvrir le visage au Québec : de nouvelles mesures annoncées

  1. Lieux publics fermés

Depuis le 18 juillet dernier, le port d’un couvre-visage est obligatoire dans les lieux qui accueillent le public au Québec. Le couvre-visage comprend un masque ou un tissu bien ajusté qui couvre le nez et la bouche. Le décret n° 810-2020 (décret 810)[1] précise les lieux qui accueillent le public qui seront touchés au Québec.

Quels lieux sont touchés?

Il convient de noter que le terme « lieu qui accueille le public » comprend la partie accessible au public, dans la mesure où elle est fermée ou partiellement couverte et qu’il ne s’agit pas d’une unité … Continue Reading

Ontario employers, cover up! Mandatory face-covering orders now in effect in Toronto, Ottawa, and beyond

While Stage 3 allows many businesses in Ontario to reopen and to welcome returning employees back to the physical workplace, employers and service providers—as operators of enclosed public spaces and establishments—must meet certain recently announced conditions. As of July 7, 2020, at 12:01 a.m., these conditions now include the mandatory covering of the mouth, nose and chin for members of the public and employees in indoor public spaces in Ontario’s two largest municipalities, Toronto and Ottawa. On July 30, 2020, the Province of Ontario unveiled its plan for reopening schools in the 2020-2021 school year, which will require students … Continue Reading

Pandemic check: face covering requirements for federally regulated employers in Canada

In certain provinces, masks and face coverings have now or will soon become mandatory in certain indoor establishments accessible to the public, including in, or in parts of, Ontario, Quebec, Alberta and British Columbia. Recently, in Atlantic Canada, Nova Scotia also announced that masks will be required as of July 31 in enclosed public places.

In the federal sphere, the Labour Program has not imposed mandatory face covering requirements in establishments operated by federally regulated employers and service providers. However, current public health guidance informs that face coverings can be an effective form of protection from the … Continue Reading

À savoir sur la pandémie : exigences en matière de couvre-visage pour les employeurs sous réglementation fédérale au Canada

Dans certaines provinces, le port d’un masque et d’un couvre-visage est maintenant, ou sera bientôt, obligatoires dans certains établissements intérieurs accessibles au public, notamment en Ontario (en anglais seulement), au Québec, en Alberta et en Colombie-Britannique (en anglais seulement), ou dans certaines parties de ces provinces. Récemment, au Canada atlantique, la Nouvelle-Écosse a également annoncé que le port du masque sera exigé à partir du 31 juillet dans les lieux publics fermés.

Du côté du gouvernement fédéral, le Programme du travail n’a pas imposé de mesures obligatoires en matière de couvre-visage dans les établissements exploités par des employeurs et … Continue Reading

US: Virginia becomes first state to adopt COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standard

On July 27, 2020, the first state “Emergency Temporary Standard” (ETS) for COVID-19 went into effect. The ETS requires employers in the state to develop and implement COVID-19 prevention and control measures in the workplace. The ETS is in effect for six months, although this period could be shortened if the Virginia State of Emergency expires, a permanent standard is enacted or the Virginia Safety and Health Codes Board repeals it.

Employers covered by the Emergency Temporary Standard

The ETS applies to all public and private employers and places of employment in Virginia, with the exception of federal employers, private … Continue Reading

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