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Termination, layoff, dismissal and resignation

Various circumstances can lead to the suspension of the employment contract or the end of a worker’s employment relationship.

Important

Whatever the circumstances that lead to the end of a worker’s employment, the employer may be required to pay the worker wage adjustments related to pay equity work that is done after the worker’s employment is terminated.

Permanent layoff

Permanent layoff refers to the definitive end of the employment relationship between a worker and their employer. An employer terminates a worker’s employment when they no longer need their services for:  

  • economic reasons, such as financial difficulties 
  • organizational reasons, such as restructuring of the company or reorganization of duties 
  • technical reasons, such as technological innovations 

The employer must give written notice of termination of employment in accordance with the notice period provided for by law to the worker who is being terminated. If they do not give notice or do not give sufficient notice, the worker is entitled to an indemnity, that is, monetary compensation. 

At the time of termination or at the time of the next regular pay, the employer must give the worker all the sums they are due, such as wages, overtime pay and the vacation indemnity (4% or 6%).

Collective Dismissal

Collective dismissal refers to the termination of employment, by the employer, of 10 or more workers in the same establishment over a period of 2 months. It also refers to the temporary layoff of more than 10 workers in the same establishment for more than 6 months over a period of 2 months. 

The employer must send a notice of a collective dismissal to ministre du Travail, de l’Emploi et de la Solidarité sociale and the CNESST. They must also post the notice in the establishment concerned and send it to the certified association, such as the union that represents the workers, where applicable.   

Workers are entitled to an indemnity if the notice of group termination is not sent in accordance with the prescribed notice period. 

At the time of termination or at the time of the next regular pay, the employer must give the workers all the sums they are due, such as wages, overtime pay and the vacation indemnity (4% or 6%). 

The employer must give written notice of termination of employment in accordance with the notice period provided for by law to the worker who is being terminated. If they do not give notice or do not give sufficient notice, the worker is entitled to an indemnity, that is, monetary compensation. 

Important

The indemnities provided for in cases where the notice of termination of employment or the notice of group termination are not sent in accordance with the prescribed notice period are not cumulative. The worker will receive only the higher of the compensatory indemnities to which they are entitled.

Layoff

A layoff temporarily suspends the employment contract between the employer and the worker for economic, organizational or technical reasons. The person may be recalled to work. The employment relationship is maintained during the layoff.

At the time of a layoff of more than 6 months, the employer must give the worker notice of termination of employment in accordance with the prescribed notice period. If they do not do so, the worker is entitled to an indemnity.

In the case of a layoff that is indefinite or scheduled to last less than 6 months, but which exceeds that period, the employer must pay the compensation at the end of the 6-month period. The payment of compensation at the end of the six-month period does not sever the employment relationship with the laid-off worker.

Other features of the layoff apply to the calculation of the compensation.

The employer does not have to pay the vacation indemnity if the worker’s vacation was not scheduled during the layoff.

Dismissal

A dismissal occurs when an employer puts a definitive end to worker's employment for disciplinary or performance reasons.

The employer must give written notice of termination of employment in accordance with the prescribed notice period to the worker who is being dismissed. If they do not give notice or do not give sufficient notice, the worker is entitled to an indemnity, that is, monetary compensation. 

At the time of dismissal, the employer must give the worker all the sums they are due, such as wages, overtime pay and the vacation indemnity (4% or 6%). 

Resignation

A resignation occurs when a worker decides to leave their job permanently.  

The Act respecting labour standards does not establish any obligations with respect to notice of resignation or notice of departure. Under the Code civil du Québec, a worker must give the employer reasonable notice. 

Following a resignation, the employer must give the worker all the sums they are due, such as wages, overtime pay and the vacation indemnity (4% or 6%). 

The employer must also produce a record of employment for the worker who has resigned which reports, for instance, the number of insurable hours they worked. For more information about the record of employment, go to the Employment insurance site.

Laws and regulations

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