The UK Rules
'Follow the Regulations'
Layoffs and Short-time Working

Redundancy Layoff and Short Time Working

There may be times when your employer struggles to find enough labour for all the workforce. That means you could be 'laid off' from work or given 'short-time working' hours or unpaid holiday.

LAYOFFS: Generally, laying off staff and introducing short-time working is a temporary situation.

Being laid off from work means you should take unpaid leave or stay at home. This is also a good time to check the terms and conditions of your contract.

Employers can lay off staff, but only when the employment contract permits it. Even so, you may qualify for redundancy pay depending on your individual situation.

Trade union members can get further advice about layoff and short time work from their union representative. Or, you can discuss your concerns with any knowledgeable colleagues at your company.

There is a difference between layoff and short time working.

Working reduced hours, or getting paid less than half of one week's pay, is short-time working. Employers use these measures to help avoid making staff redundant.

That said, they will need to agree the action plan with their staff first. There are several ways employers can do this, such as in:

Note: Enforcing national and collective agreements can only occur when they are in the employment contract.

There are other circumstances that allow laying off an employee or putting them on short-time working. Examples include:

Statutory Guarantee Payment from the Employer

There are situations where employees qualify for statutory guarantee payments. It happens when employers cannot provide a full day of work during their normal working time.

The maximum statutory guarantee payment from the employer is £25 a day for 5 days in any 3 months (£125).

Employees earning less than £25 a day will usually get their regular daily rate. There is a proportional rate used in the calculations for part-time-workers.

In some cases employees will qualify for a redundancy payment from their employer. It happens in cases where the lay-off or short-time working runs for:

Staff who want to make a claim for redundancy pay must give written notice to their employer. The notice must be in advance of any claims received.

But, redundancy payment is not mandatory if there will be a return to normal working hours within 4 weeks. Read more on lay-offs and short-time working on the Acas website.

Note: Failing to give statutory guarantee payment to staff who qualify for it can result in an employment tribunal.

Redundancy Layoffs and Short-time Working Procedures