If you are an employer you have most likely heard the terms ‘lay-off’ and ‘short-term’ more than you would like recently, but many employers have contacted ESA unsure of what the difference is between the two terms.

Essentially, lay-off is where an employer is unable to provide work for their employees but believes that this is a temporary situation. Short-time is where an employer has to reduce their employees hours of work or pay are reduced to less than 50% of their normal working hours or pay.

These two situations are different from redundancy. Redundancy is where the role is no longer viable.

The law is that for both lay-off and short-time that the employer must give as much notice as possible. However, with the unprecedented Covid-19 pandemic realistically many employers would be forgiven for not being able to provide ‘reasonable’ notice. Instead employers had to react in the moment and in the context of benefits and forms that were developing on a daily basis and in fact continue to develop.

If you do need to consider or implement lay-offs or short-time what are the essentials that you should consider in order to protect your company from any future claims? We would suggest:

  1. That you have a genuine and reasonable belief that lay-offs and short-time are necessary. How can you support your belief? Bank statements will show a reduction in income etc.
  2. That you reasonably believe that this is a temporary position. How can this be shown? If your business was trading normally until the break of the Covid-19 pandemic it should be fairly straight forward to show that you believe that this is the core cause of business decline and that business should pick up once the pandemic is controlled.
  3. That you are not using lay-off or short-time procedures instead of implementing sick leave or other forms of leave.
  4. That you still apply objective selection criteria when deciding which employees should be put on lay-off or short-time.

If you would like further information on this topic please contact ESA on 01 8774608 or by email [email protected]

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