Termination of Employment
Employment relationships can be ended by either an employer or employee. In most cases, the legislation requires the person ending the employment to give notice.
Is a layoff the same as termination?
No. A layoff is a temporary break in employment where employees are likely to return to work. Employers do not need to provide notice to employees that they are being laid off. However, if the layoff is longer than 8 weeks in a 16 week period, the layoff becomes a termination and notice is required. Temporary help employees are subject to additional rules when determining a layoff period, see Temporary Help Agency fact sheet.
What is notice of termination?
Notice of termination is the period of time an employee or an employer is required to give the other before ending employment. Employees continue to work their regular hours and perform their regular duties at the same rate of pay during the notice period.
Do employees need to give notice of termination?
Yes. The amount of notice depends on how long the employee has been employed by the same employer:
Do employers need to give notice of termination?
Yes. The amount of notice depends on how long the employee has worked for the same employer.
Employers can either allow the employee to work out this notice period, or pay wages in lieu of notice for the same number of weeks, or a combination of both.
What is a period of employment?
The length of time from when an employee starts working for an employer until the day the employment ends.
The period of employment also includes periods of temporary interruption in employment (a layoff, an unpaid leave) seasonal employment, and when an employee returns to work for the same employer after a break of less than two months. Employees who work in a seasonal industry and return to work with the same employer each season have continuous service. Each consecutive season they return adds one more year of service to their total period of employment.
Is there a period when no notice is needed?
Yes. Employers and employees do not need to give notice of termination when the employee has been employed for less than 30 days. Employers are not allowed to extend or change this period unless it is negotiated in a collective agreement with a union.
Can employers pay wages instead of providing notice of termination?
Employers can pay the amount of wages employees would otherwise have received had they worked out the notice period (often called wages in lieu of notice). Employers can also allow employees to work for part of the notice period and pay wages in lieu of notice for the remainder.
Employees who work the same hours every week receive their regular earnings for wages in lieu of notice. For employees who work varying hours every week, wages in lieu are based on the average of the earnings for regular weekly hours worked over the last 6 month period. Vacation wages and overtime wages are not added to wages paid in lieu of notice.
Are there situations when employers or employees do not need to give notice of termination?
The following are some cases where notice of termination is not required:
Employers must consider each situation on a case by case basis if deciding not to provide a notice period to an employee.
Can employers keep employees' wages if employees terminate without notice?
No. Employers must pay out all wages the employee has earned up until the last day worked. Employers must pay employees all earned wages within 10 business days of the last day of work. An employer can pursue any lost money through civil court.
Can employers have a different notice policy?
Employers cannot give less than the required notice period. These are the minimum standards for notice and any agreement between an employee and employer that is less than the minimum is not valid.
The only exclusion is in a unionized workplace where a collective agreement exists.
Do other laws affect termination?
Employers are not allowed to terminate employees because they have taken or requested a legislated leave of absence from work. More information can be found on the Unpaid Leaves fact sheet.
The Human Rights Code, The Workplace Safety and Health Act, and The Labour Relations Act all deal with issues around ending employment. More information about other government departments can be found on the Other Government Support page.
There is also civil employment law covering termination issues. Employers and employees should consult a lawyer if they have questions about civil law.
How much notice must employers give to terminate a large group of employees?
Employers who intend to terminate a group of 50 or more employees within four weeks must notify the Minister of Growth, Enterprise and Trade and provide more notice than for an individual termination.
For more information contact Employment Standards:
Phone: 204-945-3352 or toll free in Canada 1-800-821-4307
This is a general overview and the information used is subject to change. For detailed information, please refer to current legislation including The Employment Standards Code, The Construction Industry Wages Act , The Worker Recruitment and Protection Act, or contact Employment Standards.
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Date Published: February 21, 2017