Looking back isn’t always easy, especially after a year like 2020. But we believe when it comes to business, learning from past mistakes is essential to your continued success. 


Today, we’ll discuss business lessons learned from the COVID-19 pandemic and how to use these lessons in our business going forward. 


1. The value of a well-drafted employee contract 


One big takeaway from the COVID-19 pandemic is the importance of a well-drafted employee contract or agreement. 


During the pandemic, millions of employees were temporarily laid off by their employers as a result of emergency provincial orders, leaving some businesses at risk of potential lawsuits and exposing weaknesses in employee contracts. Therefore, it’s important to address these issues and ensure your employee contracts are updated and reflect the “new normal” such as:

  • Work from home policy 
  • Temporary layoff clause
  • Termination clause
  • Sick leave policy (see next point)


2. Sick leave

In response to COVID-19, BC amended its Employment Standards Act to address sick leave and unpaid statutory leave in the case of COVID-19 related absences. 


We addressed these changes in more detail in this article. As an employer, you should familiarize yourself with these recent changes and amend your policies as needed. And ensure you address the following areas in your employee contracts:

  • Sick pay
  • Unpaid statutory leave
  • COVID-19 related absences


3. Commercial leases

If you rent a commercial property as part of your business operations, then you may have run into issues during the pandemic with regards to rent payment. We discussed commercial lease issues during COVID-19 in-depth here. The pandemic has taught us the importance of certain clauses in our lease agreements such as:

  • Force Majeure
  • Frustration

You can read about these terms in more detail here. We recommend gaining an understanding of these clauses and ensuring they are in your commercial lease agreements. 


4. Comprehensive work from home policies

Many businesses were required to pivot in 2020 in order to survive financially. One of the biggest changes to occur was employees working from home. Obviously, some jobs do require employees to work on location and, therefore, it is up to the employer to ensure a safe working environment, according to WorkSafeBC.


However, if it’s possible for your employees to work from home, then this should be addressed in-depth to clarify what is expected of the employee. 


If you’d like to discuss any of these matters further and wish to make changes to your employee contracts, then do not hesitate to contact us!