When an employer wants to fire an employee, they are required under the Employment Standards Act (ESA) to give adequate notice or provide appropriate termination pay. The precise amounts vary depending on the specifics of each case.
If your employment has been terminated without notice or pay in lieu of notice, you may be eligible to pursue legal action in order to recover the money you are owed. Contact our Toronto employment lawyers today to schedule a free consultation and learn more on what may be possible for you.
What is a Notice Period or Pay in Lieu?
An employer is required to provide an employee advance notice about the termination of their employment. The time between the employer informing the employee of the impending termination and the date of the termination itself is known as the notice period. The employee will typically continue working at their job during the notice period.
If the employer does not provide notice, they are required to pay the employee an amount that would cover the notice period. This is known as pay in lieu of notice, sometimes referred to as termination pay. In this case, the employee would stop working at the moment of termination, but would be paid for the time they would have worked had they been given notice.
How Long Is a Notice Period?
Under the ESA, the length of a notice period depends on how long the employee has been continuously working with the employer. If an employee has worked with the given employer for at least 3 months, the notice period is at least 1 week. For longer periods of service, it may be up to 8 weeks.
In some circumstances, an employee may be entitled to common law notice. Known as “reasonable notice,” common law notice factors in the employee’s unique circumstances, including how long it might take them to find new employment in a similar position. The notice period or pay in lieu in common law is typically much greater than under the ESA.
Our Toronto employment lawyers at Howie, Sacks & Henry LLP would be happy to discuss the details of your case and provide insight into what may be possible for you.
What Are an Employer’s Legal Obligations on Notice Period or Pay in Lieu?
An employer must provide the prescribed amount of advance notice, or pay the employee’s wages for a prescribed amount of weeks in lieu of notice. The amount of notice or pay in lieu required depends on the length of the employee’s service.
How Is Pay in Lieu of Notice Calculated?
Under the ESA, pay in lieu of notice is typically calculated as one week’s wages per year of employment, up to 8 weeks. If an employee has worked for a given company for more than three months but less than a year, for example, their ESA notice period is 1 week. If an employee has worked for 5-6 years, the notice period is 5 weeks. For 8 years or more of service, the notice period is 8 weeks.
Who Is Entitled to Pay in Lieu of Notice?
An employee who is entitled to but does not receive a written notice of termination is entitled to pay in lieu of notice. This applies to all employees, with the following exceptions:
- An employee who has worked for less than three consecutive months for the given employer;
- An employee who quits;
- An employee dismissed for just cause;
- An employee who is being laid off in such a way that does not constitute an employment termination; or
- An employee working a contract position with a defined end date.
What Is the Difference Between Pay in Lieu of Notice and Statutory Severance in Ontario?
Pay in lieu of notice is an amount paid out to the employee if the employer is not providing them with statutory notice. It is meant to cover the week(s) of wages they would be working if they were given notice.
Severance is a sum of money paid to certain employees as compensation for losing their job. It may be paid in addition to pay in lieu of notice, and is calculated on its own.
Both pay in lieu of notice and statutory severance in Ontario are meant to help the employee bridge the gap between periods of employment, providing financial support as they seek a new job.
What Happens if I Am Not Given Adequate Notice or Pay in Lieu?
If you have not been given adequate notice or received pay in lieu, you may be entitled to pursue legal action in order to recover the compensation you are owed. Consult with a Toronto employment lawyer to learn what may be possible in your case.
When Should I Speak With an Employment Lawyer About a Notice Period or Pay in Lieu Issue?
It never hurts to seek legal advice. If your employment has been terminated without notice, or you feel you may be entitled to more compensation than you received, contact our Toronto employment lawyers to set up a free consultation. In learning more about your case, we may be able to provide you with informed advice regarding next steps.
How Can an Employment Lawyer Help Me on Issues Dealing With Notice Period or Pay in Lieu?
Depending on the situation, an employment lawyer may be able to provide guidance as to the options available to you in dealing with an issue concerning your notice period or pay in lieu.
Contact Our Employment Lawyers For Legal Assistance
Employees in Ontario are entitled to reasonable notice or pay in lieu of notice in the event of a termination. If you were terminated without notice or pay in lieu, you may be eligible to pursue legal action. Contact us to book your free consultation.
*Please be advised that the content of this article is intended as a general overview on the subject of notice period or pay in lieu in Ontario, and is not intended as legal advice. For legal advice, please consult with a lawyer.