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Guarantee Payments

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[Thanks to Peter Taheri of 5 Essex Court for preparing this case summary]

Where a temporary variation of employees' working hours is agreed (e.g. to avoid job losses), are the employees entitled to receive guarantee payments in place of wages for time when they would 'normally be required to work in accordance with [their] contract of employment', under section 28 of the Employment Rights Act 1996?

No, says the EAT in Abercrombie & Ors v Aga Rangemaster Ltd.

The EAT rejected the Claimants' argument that a temporary variation of contract was not a change to 'normal' working hours. The mere fact that the variation was temporary was irrelevant.

The Claimants also argued that sections 30(5) and 31(6) of the Employment Rights Act allow for entitlements to guarantee payments if the 'contract has been varied or a new contract has been entered into, in connection with a period of short-time working'. It was held, however, that these provisions were only concerned with the quantification of guarantee payments, not with establishing entitlement to them.