Can an employer lay off workers if it is in financial difficulty?

Employers have no statutory or implied contractual right to lay off employees or to keep them on short-time working. Employers in financial difficulties may ask employees to agree to being laid off or kept on short-time working, but may not take this action without employees' agreement. Any employee who is laid off or kept on short-time working for more than four weeks, or for more than six weeks in a 13-week period, may claim a statutory redundancy payment. Employees are to be taken as having been laid off in any week if they are not provided with any work during that week and are not entitled under their contract to be paid any wages or salary in respect of that week.