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Tools for Managing Workforce Layoffs

Employers that have encountered a slow down or closure due to COVID-19 may have been forced to implement layoffs. The longer employees are off, the harder it may be to keep them engaged and ready to come back to work at full efficiency.

If you’re not ready to bring back employees, or if you’re looking at further layoffs, consider whether you can provide some support. Employees who have been furloughed during COVID-19 face all the normal challenges and emotions of job loss, even if it’s designed to be temporary, in addition to experiencing unprecedented uncertainty and stress.

Employers who want to retain the investment they’ve made in their employees are looking for ways to keep them engaged and supported. Our online service, JobPause, is designed for individuals experiencing job and life changes. Built into the offering is emotional support, guidance on resiliency, and a mechanism for employers to encourage ongoing engagement with their staff, all from the safety of their own home.

Find out more about JobPause here.

On the contrary, as restrictions begin to lift and you are thinking of bringing your employees back, there are a number of government funded initiatives available to support your employees and your business.

Government subsidies

If your reduction in business is somewhere between 10% and 29%, you have two options available. The first is the recently expanded workshare program. It is a federal program designed to help avoid layoffs when you have a temporary reduction in business that is beyond your control. If your employees are eligible for EI and agree to work a temporarily reduced work week while the business recovers, it may be an option. Seasonal businesses and those less than two years old aren’t eligible. But the organization can be private or publicly held, or a not-for-profit organization.

You can find more information on the Workshare program here.

Your second option is the 10% Temporary Wage Subsidy, which provides the benefit by allowing you to reduce your remittances, so it assists with cash flow while you get your employees and your business back up to speed.

You can find more information on the Temporary Wage Subsidy here.

For employers with more significant business reductions – over 30%, you may be eligible for the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy. Employers need to be able to demonstrate a reduction of 15% in gross revenue in the month of March, and for April on, they need to be able to demonstrate a 30% reduction. The subsidy will be available for three months, retroactive until March 15.

Companies deemed eligible will need to reapply for the subsidy each month. Employers will need to attest that they’re doing everything they can to pay the remaining 25% of employee wages. The government wants employers that are financially able to provide the additional 25% to do so, but they recognize that many may not be able to.

Deciding if you’ll bring your employees back on payroll, even if you have no work for them to do, is a decision that may require you to think about what’s best for your employees, how well you’re positioned for cash flow, and how it can benefit your business.

Deanna Lanoway is the Vice President, Strategic HR Consulting at People Corporation.
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