Wednesday, May 25, 2022

Are you personally allowed to refuse to return to work? a lawyer tells

During the COVID-19 pandemic, many people are working from home and a survey by the Business Development Bank of Canada last year found that 55 percent of employees would like to continue working from home even when the pandemic is over.

However, a Toronto-based employment lawyer says the time to work at home is running out soon.

“Everyone will be calling people back to work soon, so employees enjoy the ride you have, but don’t expect it to run,” said Howard Levitt, senior partner at Levitt Sheik.

The federal, provincial and Toronto municipal governments are all sending out signals that they want their employees back in office, and Ontario announced it wants to get 60,000 of its employees back to work three days a week by April 4.

Levitt argues that many companies are waiting for the government’s leadership to demand that its employees return to office and that businesses are expected to follow.

“So when the government orders people to go back to work, employers are going to breathe a huge sigh of relief. They’re going to say we have the leadership now and we’re going to do it,” Levitt said. .

Levitt said studies have shown that the average workforce who worked from home worked less than those in the office.

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“Canadian workers working from home were 21 percent less productive per hour, and the longer they worked from home, the lower their productivity,” Levitt said.

At the same time, other research shows that remote working has been highly beneficial for some employees, particularly women who were more likely than men to leave their jobs during the pandemic.

A Concordia University study found that flexible work hours can benefit caregivers and employers, providing equal opportunities for all employees.

“Given the remaining societal expectations surrounding the role of women, and the additional work they have as family caregivers, teleworking is beneficial in that women can avoid commuting to work, saving time , and may stay at home if there is ever a family situation that demands their immediate attention,” the researchers said in the study.

A 2021 study released by Statistics Canada also found that most new teleworkers reported being at least as productive at home as they were heading into the office.

However, according to Levitt, regardless of an employee’s productivity level, if someone is asked to come back to the office and refuse, they can be fired.

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“If they don’t go back to work, they’ve quit their jobs and won’t get any severance pay,” Levitt said.

Levitt also said that employers allow some employees to work from home, but order others to return to the office.

“Maybe Joe and Shirley are working from home, but Sarah and Sam aren’t that much. A company might say ‘I’m going to have those people work from home, but not those people,'” And all of these actions are completely legal tactics,” Levitt said.

Levitt warns that companies can’t wait too long before ordering employees to return to work or employees can argue that it has become a condition of their employment.

During the pandemic some people changed their lifestyles and moved from cities to smaller towns and cottages and many would be hoping that they can continue to work from home on a full time or part time basis, but this depends on will do what their employers allow. ,

In February’s Statistics Canada labor force survey, nearly a quarter of workers reported they were working exclusively at home. A little over 30 percent are reporting working part-time at home and part-time in the office.

Nation World News Desk
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