Laying off means the temporary interruption of the employee’s work and remuneration until further notice or for a fixed period. However, the employment relationship continues during the lay-off. Employees can also be laid off part-time by reducing an employee's regular working hours.
The employer is entitled to lay off an employee if:
the employer has a financial or production-related reason for terminating the employment contract
the work or the employer's potential for offering work have diminished temporarily and the employer cannot reasonably provide the employee with other suitable work or training corresponding to their needs.
The work or the potential for offering work are considered to have diminished temporarily if they can be estimated to last for a maximum of 90 days.
The employer and the employee may, during the employment relationship, agree on a lay-off for a fixed period if this is required in view of the employer's operations or financial standing.
If an employee was laid off on or after 1 July 2013, the job search is not automatically initiated by notice from the employer. Instead, the employee must start the job search him or herself. For more information on services for people who have been laid off, please see the websites of the Employment and Economic Development Offices.
If an employee is laid off for several periods using a single lay-off notice, the starting date of the first lay-off period determines whether or not the employee’s job search is initiated by the group lay-off notice given by the employer. If the first lay-off period started on 30 June 2013 or before, the employee's job search also remains active on 1 July 2013 or after until the end of the last lay-off period, based on the group lay-off notice.
If a fixed-term group lay-off is continued as valid until further notice or with another fixed-term lay-off, the employee must initiate a job search him or herself.
Lay-off in fixed-term employment
An employee in a fixed-term employment relationship can usually only be laid off in situations where he/she works as the deputy of a regular employee and the employer would have the right to lay off the regular employee if he/she was at work.
Lay-offs must be announced in advance
The employer must inform the employee of the lay-off in person at least 14 days prior to the beginning of the lay-off. The notification must state the grounds for the lay-off, when it begins and its duration or estimated duration. Collective labour agreements may contain provisions deviating from this.