How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site. Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask Ben Jones Your Own Question
Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 50209
Experience:  Qualified Employment Solicitor
Type Your Employment Law Question Here...
Ben Jones is online now

I have a written contract of employment that states that I

This answer was rated:

I have a written contract of employment that states that I am contracted to work Monday-Friday 0730-1630 at £8.50ph.
The problem is that if there is no work I get sent home and am not paid for that day.
Is this right?

Hello is there anything in the contract about being laid off work?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Hello Ben, thank you for your swift response.
There is a termination paragraph which states, my employer may terminate this agreement by giving written notice to me as follows
(A) with not less than one weeks notice during the first two years of continuous employment
(B) with not less than one weeks notice for each fully year of continuous employment after the first two years until the twelfth year of continuous employment and
(C) with not less than twelve weeks notice after twelve years of continuous employment said company may terminate this agreement without notice or payment in lieu of notice in the case of serious misconduct or breach of disciplinary rules.

Hello, sorry I was offline by the time you had replied. The clauses you mentioned are to do with the termination of your employment. I was looking for clauses relating to lay off, which is when an employer does not terminate your employment but temporarily stops offering you work and does not pay you as a result.

As far as the law is concerned, as an alternative to dismissal (most commonly because of redundancy), an employer may wish to deal with an unexpected downturn in business by laying off employees (asking them not to come into work) or putting them on short-time working (reducing their working hours/days). The legal definitions of the two options are:

· Laid off - if an employee has been told to go home for at least one full working day.

· Placed on short-time working - if an employee's pay for the week is less than half a normal week's pay.

It is only possible to lay off employees or put them on short-time working when an express or implied contractual right to do so exists. If such a right does not exist the employer will be acting in breach of contract and that could entitle the employee to resign and claim constructive dismissal (subject to having at least 2 years’ service).

So if you have more than 2 years’ service and there is no lay off clause in the contract you can potentially resign and claim constructive dismissal. If you do not have the required service, you cannot claim constructive dismissal but you can claim for breach of contract to cover the hours you were contracted to work but were not paid for.

This is your basic legal position. I have more detailed advice for you in terms of the steps you need to take if you wanted to pursue the matter further, which I wish to discuss so please take a second to leave a positive rating for the service so far (by selecting 3, 4 or 5 stars) and I can continue with that and answer any further questions you may have. Don’t worry, there is no extra cost and leaving a rating will not close the question and we can continue this discussion. Thank you

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Hi Ben
No problem at all. It's my fathers contract and I was looking it over as some weeks he is sent home for 2-3 days but doesn't receive pay for those days.
There is nowhere in the contract that states if there is a downturn in business he will be put on short time working.
I will raise this with his employer as I think that he has been taken advantage of without realising it due to his advanced years.
Kind regards Kurt

how long has he worked there for? Please also take a second to leave a rating as well, that would be much appreciated, thanks

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
He's worked there since 2008, I've tried to add the picture of the contract but it isn't allowing me to. Could I email it to you?
I will leave a rating no problem.
Kind regards
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Oh it's sent it now ��

Thank you. If there is no clause allowing the employer to do this, or the employee agrees to it, for example in order to avoid redundancy, certain rights will apply after a set period of time. If someone has been laid off or placed on short-time working for 4 consecutive weeks, or 6 weeks within a 13-week reference period, they would be able to ask the employer to make them redundant. There is a strict procedure that needs to be followed and more details can be found here:

So there is protection available to employees who have been laid off or who have had their hours cut. It is however important to follow the precise steps as per the link above, if the employee wishes to go down the route of requesting redundancy.

If the criteria for asking for a redundancy are not satisfied then it can still be argued that the employer's actions amount to breach of contract and/or unlawful deduction of wages. This could result in resignation and a claim for constructive dismissal and/or compensation for the money that would have been earned had the employer not breached the contract.

If the employee believes that the situation is serious enough so that they no longer feel they can work there, they can resign and make a claim for constructive dismissal in the employment tribunal. As mentioned, in order to qualify, there is a requirement of at least 2 years' continuous service and the claim must be made within 3 months of leaving.

Ben Jones and other Employment Law Specialists are ready to help you