Firings and Layoffs
Do I get notice before I'm let go?Yes, but only if you've been employed continuously for three months or more. This gives you the right to written notice or to pay if notice is not given. How much notice you get depends on how long you've been working at the same place.
(Note: If you belong to a union, check your collective agreement. You'll likely have better notice and termination pay clauses than the minimums found in the law. You'll also have the right to fight an unjust firing through your grievance procedure. And you probably will also have severance pay provisions.)
Length of employment -- Notice required
Less than 3 months -- None
3 months to 1 year -- 1 week
1 year to 3 years -- 2 weeks
3 years to 4 years -- 3 weeks
4 years to 5 years -- 4 weeks
5 years to 6 years -- 5 weeks
6 years to 7 years -- 6 weeks
7 years to 8 years -- 7 weeks
8 years or more -- 8 weeks
Once you get notice, your boss can't change any condition of your job, including your wage rate, unless you give written consent. Your vacation, leave, strike or lockout, or absence due to illness can't be used as part of the notice period.
Do I get paid?If you don't get proper written notice, you get paid for the number of weeks of notice you should have received. A week’s pay is calculated by totalling the employee’s wages, excluding overtime, earned in the last eight weeks in which the employee worked normal or average hours then dividing the total by eight.
Your employer can give you a combination of notice and pay that equals the number of weeks' pay you're eligible for.
Are there exceptions to termination notice?Yes. You aren't entitled to termination notice if:
- You worked for your employer less than 3 months.
- You quit or you're retiring.
- You're fired for just cause.
- You worked on-call doing temporary assignments that you could say "yes" or "no" to.
- You were hired for a definite term. (This only applies if your term or specific task does not go beyond its scheduled end by more than 3 months.)
- There's a lack of work your employer couldn't foresee or control (other than bankruptcy, receivership or insolvency)
- An employer whose principal business is construction employs the employee at one or more construction sites
- Your employer made you another reasonable job offer and you said "no."
- You were a teacher employed by a board of school trustees.
What about temporary layoffs?Any layoff, including a temporary layoff, constitutes termination of employment unless the possibility of temporary layoff:
- is expressly provided for in the contract of employment
- is implied by well-known industry-wide practice (e.g. logging, where work cannot be performed during “break-up”)
- is agreed to by the employee
A temporary layoff can be no longer than:
- 13 weeks in any period of 20 weeks in a row
- a period of time in which an employee covered by a collective agreement has the right to be recalled.
If the temporary layoff becomes permanent, your original layoff date becomes your termination date. You're eligible for pay as indicated above.
Note: there is no general right under the Employment Standards Act for employers to temporarily lay off employees.
Are there different rules for group layoffs?Yes. If your employer wants to lay off 50 or more workers at a single work site within 2 months, you must get written notice. Your employer also has to notify the Ministry of Labour and your union, if you have one. The length of notice depends on how many workers are being laid off.
If you don't get notice or get shorter notice than required, you're entitled to pay for the portion of the notice you didn't get. You are also entitled to individual lay-off notice.
How do I get more information?Contact the Employment Standards Branch by calling the toll free information line at 1 800 663 3316, or (250) 612 4100 in the Prince George area.