Do You Need to Lay Employees Off?


With the COVID-19 Pandemic in full swing, many businesses are having to change the way they do business and many business owners are starting to have to consider and make hard decisions on what to do going forward.  In this type of situation, I think it is important that each employer consider all the options before deciding.  Layoffs should ALWAYS be your last resort.  In this article we will go through some options to consider and some tips on how to implement each of the options.

Ideal Time to Train/ Have Employees Document the tasks that they Perform

Before considering layoffs, if you are lacking work but are still able afford to keep your employees employed, even for a little while longer, it is an ideal time to put your employees through training and have them document the processes that they complete.  You may not see a direct return on this right away but in the future you certainly will.  There is never a negative in investing in your employees and documenting how your processes are completed.


  • Investing in your employees through training will help them to gain new skills and doing so when you are slower ensures that they do not get behind in other work. Often it also helps to strengthen employee loyalty.
  • Having thoroughly documented processes some great benefits including helps to standardize programs and tasks, helps to work through issues and quality problems, and helps with training of new or future employees.


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Reducing Hours within your Workforce

In certain circumstances, it might be possible to have everyone within your company to continue working but at a reduced number of hours.


  • Able to keep all your workforce employed and they might be making more than they would on EI.
  • This would affect all your workforce equally, showing your employees that you care about them and are trying to do not only what is in the best interest of the company but also them. Statistics show that this can create a strong sense of employee loyalty.
  • Your employees would stay current in their fields.


Have Employees Take Vacation

Some employees might have vacation time that they could take to help them through this situation.  You as the employer, might be in the situation to allow them to take their vacation and cover the cost incurred from that.  Some employers are even allowing them to draw from the future vacation year, depending on when their vacation year starts.


  • Keeps your employees receiving a regular income
  • Decreases the need to find work for employees to do if you are in a decreased work situation.


  • Employees would not have vacation to use later.

Allowing Employees to Work Remote or From Home

With COVID-19, we have seen many businesses have had to adjust quite quickly and put in measures that they perhaps never considered before by allowing employees to work from home.  This may not be an option for all employees and all businesses, but it is for some.  In order to do this, there are requirements and specifics that will need to be worked out.  If you are an employer who would be able to off this as an option, I highly recommend that you speak to IT professionals like Brock-IT.  They will be able to help you consider all the options to ensure that you have all security measures in place, so you are not exposing your organization to risk.


  • Allows your employees to still be productive and complete their work in a safe environment.
  • Many studies show reduced stress on your employees
  • Allows them to work while dealing with family situations, i.e. lack of daycare issues.


  • Unless set up correctly and users are trained, there can be communication and collaboration barriers.
  • Employees with young children, can also have higher levels of distraction, so there may be some expectations and requirements that need to be put in place in these types of situations.

Issuing Temporary Layoffs

Issuing temporary layoffs should always be your last resort.  If this is the situation that you are in, it is important that you deal with it appropriately.  It is always best to do the following:

  • Hold the layoff meeting in person
  • Ideally have a witness in the meeting
  • Outline the next steps for the employee, i.e. what you expect them to do, what you will do, any additional key information they may need to know.
  • In this situation- help to provide them with their EI Options or other options that they might be entitled to.


  • Helps to keep the employer from going out of business and allow them to try and weather the pandemic storm.


  • When businesses go to open again, their employees may not be available to come back to work as they may have sought other work.


When considering layoffs as an option, it is important that you ensure that you have looked at all the other options before proceeding with temporary layoffs.  There are lots of other options that may would for you at this time.  These are never easy decisions to make and we know that owners and employers do not make these decisions lightly.

Should you have any questions or need some help implementing a program or processing layoffs please contact us at or 613-704-4363.

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