An employer facing financial difficulties may attempt to lay you off or suspend work for a fixed or unspecified period.
What you are entitled to be paid depends on your contract of employment. You should be paid your normal pay unless your contract clearly allows your employer to pay you something less, or unless you or your union rep negotiates a temporary change to your pay, to respond to a short-term situation, for example to avoid redundancies.
Statutory guarantee pay is based on your normal pay, but there is an upper cap of £30 per day (from April 2020) and there is a maximum of five days’ pay in any three month period.
If you agree to any temporary lay-off arrangements that involve a cut in your pay, be sure to record clearly:
that the arrangement is temporary, and exactly when the arrangement is going to end; and
that any redundancy payment, if redundancies turn out to be unavoidable, will be based on your normal pay and hours, before the temporary cut.
During the coronavirus pandemic, a special temporary form of government-funded lay-off or ‘furlough’ was put in place to support the jobs of workers unable to work during the public health crisis. The scheme, known as the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, came about following lobbying by the TUC and unions. The COVID situation is fast-moving and subject to change. You can find information about the latest position on the TUC’s main website.