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FUEL CRISIS: ACAS OFFERS GOOD PRACTICE ON LAY-OFFS AND SHORT-TIME WORKING

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ACAS Public Enquiry Points (PEPs) have been flooded by callers ...
ACAS Public Enquiry Points (PEPs) have been flooded by callers

anxious about the effect the ongoing fuel crisis may have on their

working lives. All 11 PEPs in England, Scotland and Wales have

reported hundreds of employers and employees asking how they work

when they can't get to work.

Derek Evans, ACAS chief conciliator said:

'We have had many employers asking us whether they can lay staff off

because off the lack of work as well as employees worried that they

may be dismissed if they can't make the journey to work. Our advice

is that they follow the good practice as outlined in our advice

leaflet Lay offs and short-time working - available on our website.

ACAS is advising that:

- A lay-off is defined as a situation where an employee is employed

under a contract for work in return for pay, but where the

employer does not offer work and there is therefore no entitlement

to pay

- If contracts do not contain a specific right for employers to

lay-off employees or put them on to short time working then

employees should be paid normally

- Employers can only lay-off, or introduce short time working, if

any of the following apply:

- the employment contract allows for this

- there is a clearly established custom and practice for lay-offs or

short time working either in the particular workplace or within

the industry

- there is a collective agreement providing for lay-off that has

been incorporated into individual contracts or

- the employee agrees to lay-offs as an alternative to redundancy

- If the contract does not specify the wages to be paid during a

lay-off, normal pay is due

- If there is a right to be laid off without pay, employees are

entitled to 'guarantee pay' of£16.10 per day

Derek Evans added:

'There is no specific legislation to cover the situation where an

employee is willing to work but cannot physically get there.

Contractual obligations may provide the answer to some questions or

indeed, custom and practice.'

Notes

1. The ACAS advice leaflet Lay-offs and short-time working is

available at a cost of£1 (to cover post and packing) from

ACAS Reader Ltd, PO Box 16, Earl Shilton, Leicester LE9 8ZZ,

tel: 01455 852225.

2. The definition of a 'lay-off' as quoted above is contained in

the Employment Relations Act 1996 (Section 147).

3. ACAS is an independent statutory body, not subject to direction

from any minister as to how it exercises its functions. It is

directed by a council consisting of the ACAS chairman and

employer, trade union and independent members. The ACAS mission is

to improve the performance and effectiveness of organisations by

providing an independent and impartial service to prevent and

resolve disputes and to build harmonious relationships at work.

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