‘They've always fought against the odds, and now we're seeing them do it again’
As Canadian economies continue to reopen, many employers are starting to get employees back onboard, according to a survey.
More than half (58 per cent) of those that laid off staff due to COVID-19 are now planning to rehire in the next three months.
And while layoffs in March represented 60 per cent of layoffs in small businesses this year, by the end of June, 55 per cent of those employees had been rehired — an upward trend that continued into July, according to the survey by Wagepoint, a payroll software company.
"Small businesses employ more Canadians than any other part of our economy. So, when they got hit hard by COVID-19, we all got hit hard," says Shrad Rao, CEO of Wagepoint. "But small businesses are built on entrepreneurial optimism. They've always fought against the odds, and now we're seeing them do it again."
When COVID-19 first struck, 60 per cent of Canadian small employers were forced to make rapid changes to their workforce. Among them, 40 per cent reduced headcount either temporarily or permanently and 44 per cent reduced hours or compensation.
Firms with 10 or more employees were the hardest hit: 70 per cent reduced either headcount, hours or compensation, finds the survey of 300 English-speaking business owners, CEOs, or general managers of companies with two to 99 employees.
However, 57 per cent of organizations with fewer than 10 employees also reduced either headcount, hours or compensation.
In May, the federal government announced $962 million in funding through a Regional Relief and Recovery Fund (RRRF) to help small businesses retain employees, pay rent and access capital to cover costs.