Frequently asked questions
How much notice of termination am I entitled to?
Employees dismissed by their employer are generally entitled to notice that their employment is being terminated. Employers can provide a dismissed employee with working notice, where the employee is expected to continue reporting to work during the notice period, or pay in lieu of notice, or a combination of working notice and pay in lieu.
The amount of notice an employer has to provide a dismissed employee varies, and it depends on several factors. The most common factors include the employee’s age, length of service, nature of employment, and the availability of similar employment. It will also depend on whether there is a severance clause in the employment contract, and whether it is enforceable.
Do I get paid sick days if my contract doesn’t say?
In British Columbia, employees are entitled to take up to 5 paid sick days per year. Both full-time and part-time employees are eligible for paid sick days after they have worked for their employer for 90 days.
However, employers can require employees to provide proof of illness (such as a doctor’s note) in some circumstances, to prevent abuse of paid sick days.
Does my employer have the right to put me on an unpaid layoff?
Employers can only layoff employees if it is a term in the employment contract, or if the employee agrees to it.
Unpaid layoffs can last up to 13 weeks before employers have to recall the employee to work, or terminate the employee.
If an employee is laid off and it is not a term of the contract, then the layoff might be deemed to be a termination of employment, and you should contact an employment lawyer for advice.
What if my contract says I am not entitled to overtime pay?
Most employees think that only hourly employees are entitled to overtime pay. This is not true.
In most cases, any employee that is a non-managerial employee, even salaried workers, are entitled to overtime pay.
My contract says I have to give notice of resignation if I quit
If an employee wants to quit, employers cannot legally require employees to give notice of resignation. Employees can generally quit their job at any time. However, employees who quit are unlikely to be eligible for benefits like Employment Insurance.
If an employee does give notice of resignation, the employer can choose to terminate them sooner, but must pay out the employee for the remaining notice given by the employee, or the amount the employer would have to pay if they decided to terminate them – whichever is less.
What if my employer puts me on an unpaid suspension?
Sometimes, employers will suspend employees for disciplinary reasons, and that suspension can be paid or unpaid.
There are very few circumstances where an employer is justified in putting an employee on an unpaid suspension from work, and the unpaid suspension could be deemed to be constructive dismissal.