Laid-off Workers

When employers lay off staff, they ask them not to come into work or receive wages on a temporary basis. Employers can lay-off employees if for financial reasons they are temporarily unable to pay them. However, employers may only do this if the employee’s contract permits them to do this.

Laying-off staff helps to prevent redundancies but employers must agree this with their employees in advance. If necessary, an employer can change their contract or issue a written statement about how temporary lay-offs have worked in the past.

Employers are breaching their contract if laying-off an employee or putting them on short-time work without pay is not written in the employee’s contract. The employee may:

  • Accept the breach of contract and claim a guarantee payment
  • Sue for damages for breach of contract in a civil court or at an employment tribunal
  • Claim unlawful deduction for wages at an employment tribunal
  • Claim unlawful dismissal at an employment tribunal

You can seek legal advice about redundancy from the Citizens’ Advice Bureau or from the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service

If laying off staff is the only viable option for your business, then TCHC can support them through our Skills Support for Redundancy programme. This programme is designed to build confidence and develop their chances of future employment through CV workshops, interview techniques and one-to-one careers advice and Information, Advice and Guidance sessions with a TCHC Personal Adviser. We also run Skills Support for the Unemployed and Business Start-Up courses to provide additional support in the job market.

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