Being laid off or put on short-time working
If your employer doesn’t have enough work for you, they might:
ask you not to come into work or to take unpaid leave - this is called being ‘laid off’
reduce your weekly hours or pay - this is called ‘short-time working’
These are usually temporary situations because your employer’s struggling. You’ll still be employed, even if you’re being paid less.
If your employer wants to end your job permanently because there isn’t enough work, they’ll need to make you redundant. Get help if you’re facing redundancy.
Check your contract
Your employer can only lay you off or put you on short-time working if your contract specifically says they can. If it’s not mentioned in your contract, they can’t do it.
Your contract can be written, a verbal agreement or what normally happens in your company. It might also be called your 'terms and conditions'.
If you’re a member of a trade union, your union can help you work out if it’s allowed. You can also speak to your colleagues if you’re not sure what’s usual in your company.
If your contract allows lay off or short-time working
Your employer can reduce your hours or pay, but you might be entitled to some extra money from your employer during this time. You also might be able to claim benefits or do other work. Get help if your contract allows lay off or short-time working.
If your contract doesn’t allow lay off or short-time working
This is a breach of your contract. Check what you can do if your contract doesn't allow lay off or short-time working.
If you think you’re being discriminated against
If you think your employer is targeting you because of your sex, race or something else, you might be able to take action - check if your problem at work is discrimination.