If I get a huge cut in hours, am I allowed to ask my employer to lay me off?

I’m worried that otherwise I won’t qualify for the government relief benefits for workers.



Victoria, BC

If your job hours have been cut significantly (figure by at least 20%), this could be considered constructive dismissal. This is when your work situation changes in a fundamental way, and you don’t accept that change. We explain this concept here.

Being constructively dismissed is the equivalent of being laid off — a constructive dismissal gives a worker the right to quit their job, get a severance payment, and apply for unemployment benefits.

A word of caution, though: the law of constructive dismissal is complicated. And there is risk involved in asserting constructive dismissal. Consider getting legal advice. If you don’t have access to a lawyer, there are options for free or low-cost legal help.

David Kandestin

David Kandestin

People's Law School
  • This information applies to British Columbia, Canada
  • Reviewed for legal accuracy in December 2021

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