Even in the best run organisation, circumstances can sometimes arise which lead to a temporary reduction in work. A carefully developed strategy for managing the recruitment and turnover of employees can help minimise the need for lay-offs or short time working.
When employees are not provided with work by their employer, and the situation is expected to be temporary, they are regarded as being laid off. There is a general right at common law to tell most employees not to turn up for work but there is no general right not to pay them because work is not available. Employees can be laid off without pay where there is a specific term in their contract allowing the employer to do so.
When employees are laid off, they may be entitled to a statutory guarantee payment from the employer. Payment is limited to a maximum of five days in any period of three months and the daily amount is subject to an upper limit which is reviewed annually.
Information note - Temporary lay-off and Short-time working
A lock-out is when an employer refuses to allow their employees on the premises and does not allow them to work. It is a form of industrial action taken by employers rather than employees and normally occurs when employees refuse to undertake certain work/accept new terms and conditions.
See also Industrial Action
An employee who has been dismissed by their employer and who presents a claim of Unfair Dismissal to the Industrial Tribunal has an obligation to mitigate their loss; they must take all steps necessary to seek alternative work to reduce their financial loss as a result of the dismissal. Failure to do so could result in a reduction in their compensation.