What are employees owed under the BC Employment Standards Act when their employment ends?

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BC’s Employment Standards Act (ESA) sets out the minimum amount non-unionized employees in BC must receive when their employment ends.  This article sets out what these amounts are.

It’s important to remember that if you’ve been fired, you could be owed more than just severance under the ESA that’s described below.  You could also be entitled to something called “reasonable notice,” which is often much more than severance under the ESA.

According to the ESA, after three months of continuous employment, an employee may be eligible for compensation or written working notice (or a combination of the two) as follows:

Length of employment Payment or working notice
3 months 1 week
12 months 2 weeks
3 years 1 week for each completed year of employment, to a maximum of 8 weeks

An employer doesn’t have to pay any severance when an employee quits or retires.

An employer also doesn’t have to pay severance to an employee if the employee was fired for “just cause.”  “Just cause” means that an employee was fired because of something blameworthy he or she did on the job.  It is up to the employer to show that termination was for just cause, and, unless the employee did something very bad, like lie or steal, it can be hard for an employer to prove it had just cause to terminate an employee – especially if the employer did not warn the employee about what he or she was doing wrong.

You can file an Employment Standards complaint with the Employment Standards Branch (ESB) if your employer won’t pay you what you are owed under the ESA.  You can file a complaint yourself, using the online complaint tool found at the ESB’s website. The time limit for filing an Employment Standards complaint is six months from the date you were terminated from your job.

If you’ve been fired or laid off, and you have questions about what you might be owed, you can set up a consultation with a Labour Rights Law lawyer.

DISCLAIMER: The content of this article, and this website generally, is not intended as legal advice and cannot be relied upon as legal advice.  To provide legal advice on your problem, a lawyer must first understand your specific situation.

To book a consultation, please give us a call toll-free 1 (877) 708-8350 or locally 604-245-3169. You can also book a consultation online here.

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