Extending benefits during notice period

What benefits have to continue?
By Brian Kenny
|Canadian Employment Law Today|Last Updated: 06/27/2012

Question: When an employee is terminated, what types of benefits must always be continued for the duration of the reasonable notice period and what benefits can be discontinued without employer liability? Can these be set out in policies and employment contracts?

Answer: Generally speaking, most contracts of employment contain an express or implied provision that they can only be terminated for just cause or, upon reasonable notice. At common law, the amount of reasonable notice that must be given varies from employee to employee as it is based upon factors which affect the employee's ability to find comparable employment such as the employee's age, length of service, level of responsibility and salary. In addition, employees are entitled to a minimum statutory notice period under the labour standards legislation in each province.

If an employer fails to provide reasonable notice of termination, it may be held liable for damages suffered as a result of that failure, such as the value of the employee's lost salary and benefits during the notice period less the amount that the employee earns through alternative employment. An employee is obligated to seek alternative employment during this period as part of her duty to mitigate any damages.