When staff absences are so high that a business cannot afford to open or cannot function with the remaining staff – what are the options?
The default rule is that if an employee is ready and willing to work, if an employer sends them home or asks them not to work then they still have to be paid in full.
However, there may be some alternatives.
Alternatives to closing
Lay-off or short time working
If you have the contractual right to do so you can lay off employees or put them on short time working (less than 50% of their hours). So long as this arrangement does not last for 4 or more consecutive weeks or 6 weeks in any 13 week period, it should not trigger redundancy rights.
Negotiate temporary reduction in hours
You cannot unilaterally change an employee’s contract of employment, but by agreement you can make temporary or permanent changes. There may need to be some
Request that they use holiday
This can only be done where you can give a period of notice that is at least twice the period of holiday you want them to take. So to request an employee take 1 day an employer should give 3 days’ notice.