Covid-19: Rules for Employers

Many employers are contacting us with concerns about the impact of coronavirus on their workplace.  We have prepared the information below to help business owners to understand their obligations, rights, and options for dealing with workplace effects of widespread infectious disease.  The information in these pages is a general overview of the relevant legal considerations, and is not intended to be used as legal advice in a specific employment situation.  If you need legal advice, please call us to discuss your situation with one of our lawyers.

Please note that, while the law typically changes slowly in comparison with a public health crisis, the British Columbia government has declared a state of emergency and may make legislative changes as circumstances require.  We will update these pages as the relevant law changes.

1.  Your Obligations

Employers have obligations to provide a safe workplace, provide work, accommodate disabled employees, and provide certain statutory leaves.  Read more about your legal obligations.

2.  Your Rights

Employers have contractual, common law, and statutory rights in the workplace.  The employment contract often determines what rights the employer has – where there is no written contract, the employer’s rights are limited.  Read more about your legal rights in the workplace.

3.  Your Options

A written contract of employment keeps options open for the employer.  Even without a written contract, you still have options.  What option you take will be determined by balancing your obligation to provide a safe workplace, the obligation to provide work, and your financial constraints.  Read more about your legal options as you navigate through this unprecedented phase in the life of your business.

Preparing for the future

The coronavirus outbreak has been a wake-up call for many business owners, who are.  taking this opportunity to implement employment contracts that protect them against forces beyond their control.  The importance of employment contracts, and the rights they confer on employers, cannot be overstated in situations such as the one created by the arrival of Covid-19 in British Columbia.

Aside from employment contracts, which are generally important, now is a good time to implement policies concerning medical absences, mandatory exclusions from the workplace, remote work arrangements, and adjustments for increased childcare obligations.  We have a number of template policies that you can implement in your workplace right away.  Please contact us to learn more and get these in place.