The B.C. provincial government announced on Thursday that it will be extending the amount of time workers can be temporarily laid off due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

In a statement, the Ministry of Labour said that temporary layoff provisions will be extended to a maximum of 24 weeks, ending on Aug. 30, 2020.

The move extends earlier temporary layoff provisions that were capped at 16 weeks, which were already extended from an initial 13 weeks.

See also: Canadian government extends CERB for an additional 8 weeks

This extension is meant to give businesses additional flexibility, and help maintain ties between employers and workers as COVID-19 restrictions are lifted and people return to work.

“This extension will provide even more certainty and flexibility,” said Harry Bains, Minister of Labour. 

“This will also give additional time to ensure that employers and workers are able to craft agreements if there is a need to further extend temporary layoffs, while still protecting workers’ rights to compensation for length of service.”

The BC government also says that this extension will align the province with the federal CERB (Canada Emergency Response Benefit) program’s new timeline.

Last week the federal government announced that the current benefit for people whose jobs have been affected by the pandemic will be extended for Canadians who continue to feel the impacts of the COVID-19.

The CERB has been paid out to Canadians in the form of $500 a week and was originally slated to last 16 weeks.

It will now remain in place for the months of July and August as well.

With files from Seanna Wainman.

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