It is possible for you to agree to a temporary layoff, even if it does not form a part of your employment contract.
To be legal, if an employee agrees to be temporarily laid off for a specific reason, such as COVID-19, this agreement should be clear and, preferably, in writing. The employee, however, should make it clear that they are agreeing to a layoff not as a permanent term of their employment, but instead in response to a specific and/or extraordinary situation.
By putting these proper protections in place (i.e. a written agreement), an employee will be in a better position to refuse another layoff (i.e. after we pass the COVID-19 period) and, instead, insist that the employer should compensate them in the event of any stoppage of work. Specifically, they will be in a stronger position to claim all payments relating to termination of employment including employment standards payments and, depending on the terms of their employment contract, common law payments (which can be equal to several months/years of economic support).
If you have been laid off, had your employment terminated and/or want to understand your employment rights please contact Toronto employment lawyers, Sultan Lawyers at 416-214-5111 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.