Temporary Lay-off & Covid-19

Many employers have closed their doors and more may have to do so in the immediate future with the current crises, and lay-off situations are arising more and more.

In normal times employers close their businesses as the business may not be doing well, however, in the present circumstances, businesses probably for the first time in their history, are closing down for a reason which has nothing to do with the businesses at all.

If an employer has no work for the employees, and sends them home, but it concerns a temporary situation, an employer can lay-off an employee, instead of ending the employment permanently.

Temporary Lay-off & Redundancy Payment Act 1967

Section 11 of this Act provides for lay-off situations.

This occurs where the employer is unable to provide work, but the employer believes the employment cessation is not permanent.

In this circumstance the employer must give the employee Notice that this is a lay-off situation. Should this notice be in writing, yes, but it may be the case that a phone call will be considered sufficient notice to satisfy the notice requirement in the Act.

If an employee has been laid off for 4 or more consecutive weeks, or 6 weeks in 13 weeks, the employee can notify their employer that they intend to seek Redundancy.

Your employer must give you counter-notice within 7 days of the employee furnishing their notice of redundancy claim, setting out the reasons in the employers view why the employee is not entitled to redundancy.

An employer if they lay-off an employee can use document RP9 to furnish to the employee which can be found on this link:

Temporary Lay-off & Pay

Is an employee entitled to payment during the lay-off period ?.

The first place to look for the answer is the Contract of Employment.

Is there an term in the contract, for example, that permits the lay-off without pay ?.

If there is no such term, then not paying staff during this period can be a breach of contract and indeed the employer has an obligation to pay. A term in a contract is an express term, but what about an implied term, such as any custom and practice ?.

There may be custom and practice of a particular workplace not to pay other staff during a lay-off, or there may be a particular industry custom and practice not to pay during a lay-off.

Disclaimer – Temporary Lay-off & Covid 19

Please be advised that the above-mentioned material is intended as an overview and as a broad out-line of the topic discussed. It should not be considered as complete and comprehensive legal advice, nor act as an appropriate substitute. Legal advice should be sought from a solicitor prior to relying on anything in this article.

Due care has been taken in the publication of this article and we do not accept legal liability as a result of reliance on any material covered in the above article.

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