Employment trends to look for in 2023

Sunira Chaudhri

Sunira Chaudhri

Toronto Employment Lawyer

As tech companies continue to terminate employees en masse, including Microsoft’s shedding of 10,000 employees in January, employees’ rights on termination are taking center stage.

2023 is off to the races and there is no better time to take stock of employment tends that are emerging across Canada.


The first trend is the almighty severance package.


As tech companies continue to terminate employees en masse, including Microsoft’s shedding of 10,000 employees in January, employees’ rights on termination are taking center stage.


Many tech sector employees are offered prime perks and benefits when accepting a new role. Aside from salary, many employees are offered variable bonus plans, equity, stock options, long-term and short-term incentives, and more.


Navigating what your entitlements are on termination can be tricky. Often termination letters are silent to these perks, making it even more confusing. Most employers aim to cancel these benefits on termination even though many employees are entitled to at least some significant payout.


Terminated employees should expect to receive compensation in the form of lost salary, lost bonus, lost profit share and the continuation of benefits and pension. In some cases you may be entitled to the vesting of long-term and short-terms incentive plans and even the vesting of equity and options.


This is the case even if you signed an employment agreement. The law on the enforceability of termination provisions has changed tremendously in the last few years. In fact, in the decision of Livshin v The Clinic Network Canada Inc., the court struck down the termination clause of an educated sophisticated employee, represented by a lawyer, because the termination clause was illegal.


The point is, the law has changed and continues to evolve. Your severance package may not represent your current entitlements.


The second trend emerging is the evolution of the online workplace. As more employees are being terminated and looking for flexibility, many are looking to online platforms for contract and consulting work.


During the holiday season, I worked on a deal where a popular online influencer stood to earn hundreds of thousands of dollars for a short campaign, promoting the sale of a product in the beauty space. It became obvious to me that lucrative work is being done online outside of the confines of the normal employer-employee relationship.


There are many benefits to this work dynamic, however, online work may not attract worker protection rights and may raise questions about jurisdiction. In 2023, more online workers are signing contracts for all kinds of work. Negotiating contracts for online work can offer a lot of protection if deals go south or terms are not fulfilled.


The last trend is the strength of the social media resume. Work has gone remote and hybrid in many industries. Workers are turning to consulting work rather than traditional employment relationships. A worker’s online presence is their calling card.


Now more than ever, candidates online reputations are scrutinized by potential employers. Receiving endorsements and online recommendations are key to creating a great impression, trust and successful remote working relationships.


Have a workplace issue? Maybe I can help! Email me at sunira@worklylaw.com and your question may be featured in a future column.


The content of this article is general information only and is not legal advice.

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