Suspending Employees from Work

Employees can potentially find themselves suspended for the following reasons: lay-off, medical suspension, maternity suspension, and during a gross misconduct inquiry.

If there is a lay-off clause within the employees contract, then the employer can lay-off an employee on those occasions when the business is operating at less than normal capacity and the services the employee usually provides are not consequently required. When laid off, an employee is entitled to a statutory guarantee payment for 5 days of lay-off in any 3 month period except where the employee has worked for the employer for less than a month or has unreasonably refused appropriate alternative work. They would also not be entitled to a statutory guarantee payment should their contract predate the 1st October 2002, exceed 2 years duration, and contain a 'waiver clause'. Payments nevertheless are capped at a statutory maximum. Should the employee be laid off without pay or placed on short time (i.e. less than half a week per week) for 4 consecutive weeks, or for 6 weeks in a 13 week period, then they may be entitled to redundancy pay so long as they have at least two years' continuous service with the employer.

Medical Suspension
Where there is a continued risk to health from exposure to hazardous substances, those employees affected must be suspended. Once suspended, the employees concerned are entitled to full pay for up to 26 weeks

Maternity Suspension
Where there are risks to pregnant employees which cannot be avoided and there is no appropriate alternative work available for them, then those employees must be suspended on full pay. Nevertheless, should the employee have unreasonably refused appropriate alternative work, then they lose their pay entitlement.

Gross Misconduct Enquiry
Employees can be suspended whilst their employer investigates allegations against the employee of gross misconduct. As the suspension does not represent disciplinary action, employees are normally suspended on full pay.

Tribunal Claims
Employees who are not paid during a medical or maternity suspension or who don’t receive the statutory guarantee payment following lay-off can bring a tribunal claim which must brought within six months of the date they were first not paid. Should an employee be dismissed by an employer looking to avoid a maternity suspension or for asserting their statutory rights re suspension, then the dismissal is deemed automatically unfair regardless of length of service. Such claims must be brought within 3 months of the effective date of dismissal.
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