NADIA HALUM ARAUZ, SPECIAL TO THE GLOBE AND MAIL

My manager recently asked everyone on our team if we’re interested in taking unpaid leave. Is this legal? If I take a voluntary leave and then I get terminated, am I still entitled to the same amount of severance?

“The employer is likely seeking volunteers who would prefer to stay home and receive the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) before implementing more severe measures such as reductions to compensation, layoffs, or terminations. I see no issue with the employer’s approach in seeking volunteers first”, says Nadia Halum Arauz, Associate, Whitten & Lublin Employment Lawyers.

If the employee does choose to take a voluntary leave and is ultimately terminated, the period of time that the employee was on leave should be counted toward the employee’s service when determining how much severance they are entitled to. In other words, the leave should not reduce the amount of severance to which the employee is entitled.

However, the employee should be aware that if there is a period of time during which they are receiving employment insurance or CERB benefits, and this period of time overlaps with a period during which they receive severance pay from the employer, they will likely have to repay the EI or CERB benefits received during the overlap.

If you’ve got more COVID-19 & employment rights questions regarding unpaid leave please contact us. With years of experience in this ever-changing area of law, we at Whitten & Lublin Employment Lawyers are happy to provide insight and advice into your specific circumstances. If you’re looking for employment lawyers and would like more information about what Whitten & Lublin can do for you, please contact us online or by phone at (416) 640-2667 today.

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