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Lay Offs

It is uncommon even in difficult economic times for employers to lay off employees or put them on short-time working usually because of a decline in business or as a result of unforeseen circumstances which make it very difficult to carry on day-to-day business e.g. loss of use of premises. An employer can do this in the employee’s contract of employment expressly or be relying on the custom and practice within that particular industry sector. However, right to do so including the duration of this measure should be assessed on a case-by-case basis.

An employee will be considered to be laid off if he/she is not paid their wages because their employer does not provide them with work if they are entitled to no pay at all under their contract during the week in question. Short time working on the other hand is where the employee is paid less than half their wages in a particular week because of the reduction in the work provided by the employer.

For these employees to claim a statutory redundancy pay, they must have been laid off on short-term working for 4 or more consecutive weeks or a total of 6 weeks (of which no more than 3 are consecutive) in any period of 13 weeks. They must serve written notice to the employer of their intention to claim. If the employer refutes the claim, it must serve a counter-notice on the employee. The matter will then be decided by an Employment Tribunal.


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