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Lay-Off & Short-Time Working

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.

See Guarantee Payments

Information note - Temporary lay-off and Short-time working

Telephone Enquiry Point

The Agency’s Enquiry Point is available to employers, employees, trade unions and others. Enquiry Point advisors provide information and advice on a wide range of employment matters. The Enquiry Point is also an important contact point for identifying circumstances, or clients, who would benefit from being referred to other Agency services.

The Enquiry Point provides clear, confidential, independent and impartial advice to assist the caller in resolving issues in the workplace.

While the advisors cannot provide a legal opinion they can help callers gain a better understanding of their rights and responsibilities as well as identifying possible options to help resolve their issues.

028 9032 1442

Monday - Friday 9.00am to 5.00pm

Contact Us

Please note that we cannot deal with employment-related enquiries by e-mail. To receive information or advice about an employment-related issue, please telephone our Helpline on Belfast 90 321442 where an officer will speak with you directly about your query. Please note that the Agency can arrange the services of an interpreter if required.

If you have an employment relations issue in Great Britain please contact the ACAS Helpline on 0300 123 1100 .

For all non-employment related queries or questions please fill in the box below.