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i was working at a bodyshop as painter for 17 years, then they laid me off 2 months ago. Until now I am collecting CERB. Now they want me to go back starting on July 6 telling me that CERB will expire on that date . They offered me to go back but they will cut my work day by 3 and half hours. I will be the only employee affected by a pay cut and that makes me think that they are forcing me to quit. Since i have no work contract can they lawfully cut my hours? Is there a way i can refuse the offer and still collect CERB until I find another job, if they don't take me back? Can I ask them that I want to be reinstated full time as everybody else or otherwise i prefer to be terminated? If I refuse the offer would mean me quitting voluntarily?

If you were laid off two months ago, a recent change in the legislation actually means you are now on Infectious Disease Emergency Leave (IDEL), a new Employment Standards Act job-protected leave.

During the period of the IDEL, the new legislation also states that while the employer is not permitted to terminate you, and has to give you the same or a similar position at the end of the IDEL period (six weeks after the Provincial Emergency Order ends, currently August 25, 2020), they are permitted to cut your hours and pay during this time, and it is not constructive dismissal pursuant to the Employment Standards Act.

CERB has actually been extended until the end of August. Also, if you will be earning less than $1000.00 per month at the job with the restricted hours, you can continue to collect CERB. Unfortunately if you are earning more, you would become dis-entitled from collecting CERB.

Regardless of whether or not you have a contract, they are allowed to temporarily cut your hours during the IDEL period. You cannot refuse to return to work outright, but under certain circumstances, you may qualify to take the leave voluntarily. We would require more information to determine whether any would apply to you. If you say you wont come back if you cannot work full time hours, that may be taken as a resignation. However, you may be able to establish a case for constructive dismissal at common law. In order to determine whether that is the case, we will need to review your contract of employment and other documents. Please call our offices to set up a consultation with one of our lawyers.
The Lawyers at Samfiru Tumarkin LLP
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