Advice on workplace closures

If you are ready, able and willing to travel to work but the workplace is closed, there can be no deduction from salary unless the contract allows the employer to do this.

Regardless of the reason for the closure, if an employee is able and prepared to work, an employer is not able to make a deduction from salary unless there was a lay-off clause in the employment contract. A clause that stipulated that where the employer cannot provide the employee with work, even though s/he is available for work, the contract of employment is temporarily suspended.

The same applies if you are in work and work closes early.

This is the case regardless of whether you are paid an annual salary or hourly.  The “contract” referred to above can be the written contract, a separate procedure or implied from custom and practice.

There is legislation covering unlawful deductions from salary.  An employer can only make a deduction if the contract allows it or if the employee has agreed.  In the case of an unresolved dispute, the employment tribunal time limit is three months from the date of the deduction.

Workplace closure due to strike action – see our advice on industrial action.