Short Time Working & Layoff

Given the ever increasing seriousness of the global outbreak of COVID-19, a lot of business are struggling with the prospect of temporary closure or a reduction in services, whether as a result of sick staff, self-isolating clients or a general air of business uncertainty.


As such it’s important to understand the legal rules around short-time working and layoffs, also known as temporary redundancies.


  • ‘Short-time Working’ is when you reduce the number of hours/days you ask staff to work each week.

  • ‘Layoffs’ are when you ask staff to be off work for at least one working day.


As an employer, you can legally ask staff to remain away from the workplace or reduce their hours and there is no limit on how long you can implement this rule for. However, you may only enforce unpaid layoffs and short-time working on reduced pay if there is the appropriate contractual clause in place. Alternatively, staff should receive their full contractual pay.