Do I Get Severance If I Get Fired?

Do I get severance if I get fired? The answer is yes and no. Usually, you get severance pay if you get terminated. But if you get fired for job related wilful misconduct then you may not receive any severance. In some cases, you get severance after a prolonged laid off period or when contract was silent on layoff.

Laid Off vs. Fired: Is There A Distinction in terms of Severance Pay?

Severance Pay vs. Severance. Do note that severance pay and severance are completely different. The everyday use of “severance pay” refers to a “severance package” or “termination pay” that you received when you are terminated. Severance refers to Employment Standards Act (ESA) severance, which is statutory and is only available to employees who have been working for 5 years or more in the company. Click here to learn more about termination pay and ESA severance.

One frequent question we got asked when an employee came for help was what should I do, I was let go. Well it’s a charged question. We usually ask the employee to clarify whether you have been terminated or fired in a sense that you received a notice or a termination letter from the employer? Or that you have been laid off in a sense that your employer told you that you don’t need to go back to the workplace until further notice?

Unfortunately, there’s a huge difference at the moment whether you have been terminated or got laid off. At the moment, during the pandemic, you are not entitled to any severance during the laid off period. If you are terminated instead of getting laid off, then the same rules pre-pandemic apply to you regarding severance paid.

Click here to learn more about termination for cause as a result to wilful misconduct.

Click here to learn more about how severance is calculated.

Severance Pay In Related to Lay Off

In a pre-pandemic era, a laid off when the employment contract was silent regarding layoff is a termination which will entitles an employee severance pay. According to the Employment Standards Act (ESA), unpaid temporary layoffs lasting 13 weeks or more will be deemed a termination of employment; and paid temporary layoffs lasting 35 weeks or more will be deemed a termination of employment. Click here to learn more about ESA temporary Layoffs.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, INFECTIOUS DISEASE EMERGENCY LEAVE (IDEL), O. Reg. 228/20 was introduced. During this time a non-unionized employee whose employer has temporarily reduced or eliminated their hours of work for reasons related to COVID-19 is deemed to be on a job-protected infectious disease emergency leave and will neither be considered being laid off nor being constructively dismissed. Although most of the time employers do not need to pay benefits for laid off workers, an employee that’s on IDEL is not “considered” being laid off, and thus shall continue to receive benefits.

Click here to learn more about how COVID-19 has impacted employment law. DO note that the “temporary layoff clock” reset on July 3, 2021: Only time will tell whether the deadline will be further extended. Click here to learn more about how severance is calculated.

Severance Pay In Related to Termination

The bread and butter of employment law is laws in related to termination, and many employment law cases are triggered by an employee getting fired. When you are terminated in Ontario, you are entitled to just compensation. When you are terminated without just compensation, you can file a case of wrongful dismissal against your employer or an ESA claim to the Ministry of Labour.

Click here to learn more about wrongful dismissal. Click here to learn more about the choice of forum in case of a termination. Click here to learn more about how severance is calculated.

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