Introduction to this document

Notice of return to normal working

Where your employees have been laid off or on short time working, if your situation improves enough for you to be able to take them back on their normal working hours, you can use our letter to inform them of this. You’re essentially requiring them to return to their normal hours of work with effect from a set date.

Contractual right or consent

You can only implement a lay-off or short time working where either you have the contractual right to do so, or you seek and obtain your employees’ express agreement to the proposed arrangement. This is regardless of how dire or pressing your financial circumstances may be. In the latter case, you should properly consult with your employees and make them fully aware of what they are being asked to consent to. In the former case, you still need to exercise your contractual right in accordance with the implied term of mutual trust and confidence. We have two letters to help you implement a lay-off or short time working, dependent on whether you have the contractual power to do so or not - our Letter Imposing a Lay-Off or Short Time Working (in Exercise of a Specific Contractual Power) and our Letter Seeking Agreement to a Lay-Off or Short Time Working.

Return to work

Once the lay-off or short time working is in place, if your economic situation doesn’t improve and the lay-off/short time looks sets to continue for longer than you originally advised your employees, go back to them again and repeat the process of obtaining consent/exercising your contractual power. In this scenario, there may come a point in time where you will need to consider implementing a redundancy programme if there’s no sign of an improvement, as a lay-off or short time working is only intended to provide a temporary solution. Conversely, to assist you with the opposite situation where the lay-off or short time working is in place but the position has now significantly improved and you’re ready to lift the restrictions and request your staff to resume normal working, you can use our Notice of Return to Normal Working letter. It essentially informs the employee that you can now bring the current period of lay-off or short time working to an end (and why) and that they can therefore return to their normal hours of work as set out in their contract of employment with effect from the date you set in the letter - give as much notice as you can here, although obviously we know that things can change with very little warning. It’s important for you to be aware though that you’re not requesting the employee to resume normal working - you’re requiring them to do so under the terms of their contract of employment, i.e. they don’t have a choice. This is because you’re simply re-invoking their contractual hours and days of work, which you’re perfectly entitled to do. Thus, if they fail to comply with this lawful management request, then it would become a potential disciplinary matter.