On December 17, 2020, the Government of Ontario extended the Infectious Disease Emergency Leave (IDEL) once again to July 3, 2021. This is a “deemed” leave of absence, which was previously set to expire on January 2, 2021.
Before the pandemic, an employer who did not have work for an employee could “temporarily lay off” an employee for up to 13 weeks (provided they had a written agreement with their employee). If the employer did not recall them by the end of the 13 weeks, then that employee was deemed terminated. This left the employer liable for costly termination pay – especially if they are laying off employees en masse.
The IDEL regulation has made it so that any non-unionized employee whose hours of work are temporarily reduced or eliminated due to COVID19 are “deemed” to be on a job-protected leave of absence. This means that the reduction or elimination of hours does not constitute a layoff or a constructive dismissal under the Employment Standards Act, 2000 (ESA) until after the regulation expires on January 2, 2021.
So, if you are running your practice at a lower capacity than during a typical year, your employees will continue to have job protection through the IDEL. It will cover them if they need to stay home to isolate, quarantine or take care of a loved one due to COVID-19. This includes parents who decide not to send their children back to school due to concerns about COVID-19.
If you want more information on the IDEL regulations or any other employment issues, please don’t hesitate to contact us. DMC is dedicated to helping dentists understand and minimize the risks associated with being an employer. Send DMC an email or give our Employment Law Team a call directly at 416-443-9280 extension 206.