Avoiding Issues with Seasonal Employment: Layoffs Versus Termination

By Chelsea Gibson, BA, LLB and Kevin Thompson, B.Sc.

There is less of a distinction than one might think between a layoff (typically seen as more temporary) and a termination (typically perceived as a permanent break from an employer). Although generally an employee is on temporary layoff when an employer cuts back or stops the employee’s work without ending his/her employment (e.g. when there is not enough work to do), an employer may put an employee on a temporary layoff without specifying a date when the employee will be recalled to work. The confusion over terminology likely arose, in part, from employers (and their lawyers) using the term ‘layoff’ too casually when they were actually permanently terminating the employment. Today, the term ‘temporary layoff’ is used to make the distinction more clear.

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