All content on this page is correct as of March 16, 2020
Following the government’s advice that people avoid non-essential contact, many organisations will be asking their staff to work from home. But what options are left when working from home is not possible?
Please see our latest update on the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme here.
We examine what routes are available in this situation – and if layoffs or redundancy become necessary, what the main considerations are.
Where home working is not possible, employers have the following options:
Lay off occurs when employees are not provided with work by their employer, their pay is reduced, but the employment contract is not terminated by the employer as the situation is expected to be temporary.
The following points arise:
If employers inform their employees that they are going to lay them off without pay or on reduced pay the employees can accept the lay off and treat the contract as continuing, but varied by consent.
If employees do not accept the lay off without pay and the employer goes ahead anyway, the employee can:
Employees must let employers know their intention to claim statutory redundancy pay.
An employee’s right to a statutory redundancy payment does not crystallise unless they terminate their contract.
Employers can respond to an employee’s intention to claim for statutory redundancy pay by serving a counter-notice in writing within a week of receiving the employee’s intention to claim. The counter-notice sets out what is known as the Special Defence that ‘normal work’ will be resumed within four weeks and will continue for at least 13 weeks after that.
‘Normal working’ means a period of employment during which there is no lay off or short-time working for any week
Employees may not initially want to accept lay off, but with the employment market being bleak, employees may consider it. It allows them continuity of employment and keeps open the prospect that pay will be resumed in the foreseeable future.
Read our update here.
This information is necessarily of a general nature and doesn’t constitute legal advice. This is not a substitute for formal legal advice, given in the context of full information under an engagement with Bates Wells.
All content on this page is correct as of March 16, 2020.