Temporary lay-off and short-time working
From time to time employers may experience a temporary shortage of work and it may be necessary to lay-off all or some of their employees in order to preserve long term employment security. If temporary lay-off is being considered there are important aspects of employment and contract law to take into account.
The right to lay-off employees without pay depends on the contractual position, i.e. whether it is permitted by the contract of employment. Where it is imposed by an employer without a contractual right to do so, employees could pursue claims to the civil court and/or to an Industrial Tribunal.
The Employment Rights (Northern Ireland) Order 1996 provides for employees to be paid a guarantee payment if they are on a period of lay-off or short-time working. Further provisions establish a procedure whereby employees who are laid off can, in certain circumstances, claim a redundancy payment.
This information note provides some general information on the right to place employees on temporary lay-off/short time working and the rights of employees who are temporarily laid-off.