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50% pay?

Home Messageboards Work and HR Forum 50% pay?

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    My employer has made half the staff redundant and asked the rest of us (me included) to work as normal but for 50% pay.

    We’ve asked to be furloughed but they won’t do it because they want us to continue working as normal. Is this legal? And is there anything I can do?


    That’s terrible!!! Name and shame, that’s what I say.

    Hopefully someone will be able to help you out here, because it sounds like your employer is out-of-order!


    That’s terrible!!! Name and shame, that’s what I say. Hopefully someone will be able to help you out here, because it sounds like your employer is out-of-order!

    I don’t want to name them because obviously I want to keep my job, and I’m grateful to even be working at the moment, but wanted to make sure this was legal.

    Annie ThorpeAnnie Thorpe

    This is a tricky one!

    Technically, your company is allowed to ask you to do this. You don’t have to agree – but that could put you out of a job.

    You need to make sure that you get in writing how long the 50% cut will be for – two months, three months etc. Confirm an end date! They also have to write to you to confirm the pay cut with reasonable notice – they can’t suddenly deduct pay from your already-worked hours this month.

    You can also:
    1) Suggest 50% pay for reduced hours

    2) Request equity in the company (where appropriate) as an alternative

    3) Ask for an agreement that the remaining 50% be paid at a later date in the form of a bonus for extra time worked

    4) Accept the offer and start looking for another job!


    Companies can do things like this in times of severe crisis, like we’re in now. It’s not ideal – because you’re essentially putting equity into the company for free – but if you want to stay with your employer, could be the only solution. Pay cuts like this often mean the employer is trying to keep as many people employed as possible – cutting everyone’s pay drastically helps them keep more people in work.

    Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but I hope this has been helpful!

    Annie ThorpeAnnie Thorpe

    I should clarify that this constitutes a change of contract – your employer and you (and other employees) must agree with reasonable time for this change to take place. Check your existing contract – if there is a clause stating they can reduce your hours, they can reduce your hours but not cut your hourly pay equivalent (so they can’t ask you for 50% pay at 100% hours – but they can offer 50% pay for 50% hours).

    If you and your employer are struggling to reach a reasonable agreement, have a chat with ACAS – they’ll have experts who can help advise on your specific situation. Good luck!


    Thanks Annie, that’s really useful to know. I will check out ACAS if necessary.


    Similar thing happened to my daughter. She works in the travel industry (one of the worst affected!!!) and she was told that her employer would cover the costs of her bills but ideally they’d like her to work-through.

    I think she was hoping to be furloughed, but I’ll send over this thread to her so she knows where she stands. Very helpful!!


    My sister was asked to work for less money but MORE hours! They said she had to cover the duties of the redundant staff! Why make them redundant if they still have things to do? x

    Sam SmithSam Smith

    So 50% pay for the same hours? Does this not fall foul of modern slavey legislation? What if the wage drops to lower than the NMW?


    That’s ridiculous. Surely they can’t legally be asking people to be working the same or more hours for much less pay.

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