Lay-off and short-time working is common in industries where work tends to fluctuate such as the construction industry. Short-time working is a temporary reduction in hours or days worked during a given week, and lay-off involves giving an employee no work at all although you would remain an employee.
Employers do not automatically have the right to lay staff off or reduce their hours just because there is less work. If you have a fixed salary or weekly wage your employer will remain liable to pay you unless there is a contractual right permitting lay-off or short-time working.
If you are laid off or are placed on short time working you are likely to be entitled to be paid a small statutory guarantee payment (SGP) from your employer for five days in any period of three months for a full-time employee. The rest of the time is unpaid.
In some circumstances, employees who are laid off or put on short-time working have a right to terminate their employment and claim a statutory redundancy payment