In Abercrombie and Others v Aga Rangemaster Limited, the Court of Appeal held that a number of employees who had agreed to a short-term reduction in their working hours during a period of economic downturn were entitled to receive guarantee payments in respect of the days on which they did not work.

What does this ruling mean?
Where an employee is ‘normally’ required to work on a particular day and work is not provided, that day will be classed as a workless day for which they will be entitled to statutory guarantee payments. It is immaterial whether the reduced hours are covered by an agreement which expressly varies the contract of employment as the reduced hours will be a departure from the ‘norm’.

What action should employers take?
Employers who are considering placing their employees on temporary short time working should first check that they have the right to do so and, if they do, budget for having to make guarantee payments to affected employees.