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layoff and short time working

An employer can put someone on short time working, or lay them off (not make them redundant) for temporary periods if they have a right written in their Contract of Employment or it is custom practice in the industry they work in for example, the building industry.

If any employee is placed on short time working or is laid off without their being a contractual right or implied right in relation to that industry, the action by the employer would amount to a breach of Contract entitling the employer to obtain unlawful deduction from wages or consider making a claim for constructive dismissal. An employer may not exercise this clause without due cause i.e. there must be a genuine reason why the person should be laid off or short working be provided. Normally this would be reasons such as working conditions or refurbishment of the premises.

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Employment Law: A Simple Guide Book to your Rights

Section 28 of the Employment Rights Act 1996 states if someone is laid off or put on short time work, they are entitled to a guaranteed payment for the days that they are excluded from working up to a maximum of guarantee payment which is currently under the legislation, £18.40 per day up to 5 days. This is from the 1st February 2005. They can only be placed on a guaranteed minimum for five days in any 3 months period. Therefore, this equates to £92.00.

After 4 weeks of being laid off or on short time working, an employee can insist by notice that the employer guarantees 13 weeks of continuous work. If not, he or she can claim redundancy pay.

In conclusion on this particular chapter, please note that lay off is not the same as redundancy. It is frequently confused by people and the term is misused in relation to being laid off as opposed to being made redundant. Being laid off is a temporary cessation of work, redundancy is a permanent loss of job.

If you are facing redundancy visit our redundancy pages.
If you are being unfairly Dismissed, visit our Unfair Dismissal pages.
If you are being disrciminated against due to race, visit our Race Discrimination pages.
If you are considering going to an Employment Tribunal then see our Employment Tribunal pages.
If you are facing Constructive Dismissal, visit our Constructive Dismissal pages.
If you are losing your job due to Misconduct or Gross Misconduct, visit our Misconduct or Gross Misconduct pages.
If you are losing your job due to Capability then visit our Capability pages.
If you think you may be suffering from disability discrimination then visit our disability discrimination pages.
If you are being asked to sign a Compromise Agreement, then visit our Compromise Agreement pages.
If you are being put on Garden Leave then please see our Garden Leave pages


The site author/owner has endeavoured to give clear information to benefit the reader. The information is no substitute for obtaining specific advice about any claim you may have from a person qualified to give it. The examples, and circumstances described etc bear no relation to any actual case and any resemblance to real circumstances is purely accidental and unintentional. The site author/owner accepts no liability for any mistake, error or inconsistency in the text and the reader should ALWAYS OBTAIN specific advice about his/her own situation. In order to assist the reader, you can give your details so that a qualified advisor can call you free of charge and assist you further via CLAIM EVALUATOR