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Know Your Rights: Layoffs and termination pay

If you have been laid off for more than 180 days, you could be entitled to termination pay.
If you have been laid off for more than 180 days, you could be entitled to termination pay.  | Stock photo

Ginette Marcoux |  Special to the Fitzhugh

New legislation was introduced this year regarding COVID-19 relating to layoffs that protected jobs up to 180 days from the initial layoff date. 

On day 181, employees were considered to be terminated and eligible for termination pay. The period of temporary layoff can be extended beyond the maximum days if the employer makes regular payment to or on behalf of the employee, such as continuing to pay wages, employee pensions or benefits and the employee agrees to these payments in lieu of a firm limit of the length of the layoff. 

Termination pay is payable when payments in lieu cease. 

Q. I have been permanently laid off from my work, am I entitled to termination pay?

A. Possibly, this will depend on the length of time you have been employed with the company. 

Termination pay will be determined based on the length of service. 

If you have been employed 90 days to two years, you are entitled to one week termination pay.

Two to four years, two weeks termination pay; Four to six years, four weeks termination pay; Six to eight years, five weeks termination pay; eight to 10 years, six weeks termination pay; and 10 years or more, eight weeks termination pay.

Q. Is it my responsibility to pursue termination pay from my employer if I am not returning to my previous employer?

A. No, by law it is the responsibility of the employer to issue termination pay if the employee is eligible. However, if employers have not issued termination pay, do not wait, request payment as soon as possible. 

Q. Is there a time limit to request severance pay from my employer if I am entitled to it?

A. Yes, on Day 181 the clock starts ticking, request termination pay from your employer immediately. You will only have six months from Day 181 to file a complaint with Employment Standards if you need to go that route. 

Q. What should be considered my last day of employment with the company? 

A. It will be the day that your temporary layoff ends (day 180), not your actual day of work. 

Q. What are the deadlines of payments for amounts owed?

A. When employment is terminated, employers must pay the employees: 31 consecutive days after the last day of employment (after 180 day period).  

Q. What steps should I take in getting my termination pay from my employer? 

A. Send a letter in writing (keep a record) to your employer stating that you are entitled to termination pay and that you would like to have it paid out to you. Should the employer fail to respond within 10 days, you can then file a formal complaint with Employment Standards. 

To file a complaint online visit:

For further assistance or information, call Ginette Marcoux at (780) 852-4418 ext 6.

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