When an employer is experiencing a downturn in work, the organisation may use the right to place his employees on short time or lay off. Both measures are to be used for a temporary period only in order to see the employer through a difficult patch and when the employer envisages that work will pick up again. Pay will be reduced during periods of short time and lay off though social welfare payments may be payable.
Generally, employers need to have the contractual right to rely on short time and lay off although it may be possible to agree at the relevant time that a variation to terms and conditions can be made permitting employees to be put on short time or lay off. Employees may be willing to do this rather than be faced with the alternative of redundancy.
When short time and lay off continue for a specified amount of time, employees are able to claim a redundancy payment but must resign.
In light of the coronavirus outbreak, organisations may consider laying off staff, otherwise known as 'temporary redundancies', in order to manage business closure or a down-turn in work.