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Wages

Q

My employer has never given me details of my wages breakdown. I just get the money in a plain envelope and once a year my P.60 is with it, so how do I know he’s paying tax and national insurance for me?

A

As an employee you have the right, each time you are paid, to receive a written statement which specifies your gross amount of wages or salary, the amounts of any fixed or variable deductions and the net amount of wages or part in cash and the balance to a bank account, then the amount and method of payment of each part-payment must be specified.

If you are concerned you should consider raising the issue with your employer, explaining the obligation with your request. It would probably be best to do so in writing, keeping a copy, if you choose to do this.

If your employer refuses to give you an itemised pay statement you can enforce this right at an Industrial Tribunal. If you are dismissed either for taking a case or asking for an itemised pay slip, the dismissal will be automatically unfair.

Further information is available from nidirect(opens new window) and nibusinessinfo(opens new window)

If our answer or publications do not provide you with enough information please contact the Agency's Head Office: 028 9032 1442 - or our Regional Office: 028 7126 9639.

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Q

My employer has introduced rules regarding taking deductions from my wages. What does the law say here?

A

All workers have the right not to have unlawful deductions made from their wages. For deductions to be lawful, they must either be required or authorised by legislation, or authorised by the worker’s contract of employment so long as a copy of the relevant term or a written explanation of the term is issued to the worker prior to the deduction being made, or agreed to by the worker in writing prior to the deduction being made. Further protections are afforded to workers in retail employment where deductions are due to cash shortages or stock deficiencies connected with retail transactions.

A worker who believes an unlawful deduction has been made may claim to the Industrial Tribunal assuming the internal grievance procedure has failed, and, if the claim is upheld, the tribunal can order the employer to repay the amount unlawfully deducted. If you complain in good faith about a deduction, whether or not the deduction was properly made, and you are dismissed, the dismissal is automatically unfair.

Where a problem or disagreement in the workplace is likely to lead to a tribunal claim the Labour Relations Agency will often be able to help employers and employees find a solution that is acceptable to both. This service is known as Pre-Claim Conciliation. It can save you the time, stress and expense normally associated with a tribunal claim.  You can find out more about Pre-Claim Conciliation at the following link or by contacting our Helpline service:

http://www.lra.org.uk/index/resolving-disputes/pre-claim_conciliation.htm

The Agency’s officers should be able to assist you in other wage-related issues such as: national minimum wage, arrangements regarding stakeholder pensions and so on.  Further information on deductions from wages is available from the Agency’s Information Note 7 – which can be downloaded from here

Information Note -Deductions from wages by employers

See nidirect(opens new window) and nibusinessinfo(opens new window)

If our answer or publications do not provide you with enough information please contact the Agency's Head Office: 028 9032 1442 - or our Regional Office: 028 7126 9639.

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Q

My employer says he is not going to pay me my last week’s wages because I didn’t work my notice, can he do this?

A

No, it is generally unlawful for an employer to withhold a payment for wages from an employee for failure to comply with a contractual notice period.  Such a situation would be viewed as an unlawful deduction from wages.  It is suggested that you raise the matter informally with your employer in the first instance and, failing payment of the wages, you can raise a complaint using the  grievance procedure as set out in the Labour Relation's Code of Practice on Disciplinaryand Grievance Procedures.  If your employer still does not pay the outstanding wages you may take a claim to the Industrial Tribunal.  

Where a problem or disagreement in the workplace is likely to lead to a tribunal claim the Labour Relations Agency will often be able to help employers and employees find a solution that is acceptable to both. This service is known as Pre-Claim Conciliation. It can save you the time, stress and expense normally associated with a tribunal claim.  You can find out more about Pre-Claim Conciliation at the following link or by contacting our Helpline service:

http://www.lra.org.uk/index/resolving-disputes/pre-claim_conciliation.htm

Further information on deductions from wages is available in the Labour Relations Agency Information Note 7 - Protection of Workers in relation to Wage Deductions by and Payments to Employers using the following link

Information Note -Deductions from wages by employers

See nidirect(opens new window) and nibusinessinfo(opens new window)

If our answer or publications do not provide you with enough information please contact the Agency's Head Office: 028 9032 1442 - or our Regional Office: 028 7126 9639.

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Q

Can we take money of an employee’s final pay to compensate us for the damage he did to a Company vehicle?

A

There are limited circumstances in which you could lawfully deduct sums of money from an employees pay to cover loss.  The contractual right to make deductions in such situations is often laid down in a ‘Liquidated Damages Clause’ which if properly constructed can permit an employer to recover a fixed sum (not necessarily a set amount but a fixed basis for working out an amount which could vary from situation to situation) from an employee.  The clause must constitute a genuine pre-estimate of any anticipated loss or damage, which could be suffered.  A clause not meeting these requirements could be viewed as an unenforceable penalty clause which means an employee could take proceedings against the employee to recover the amount that has been deducted. It is recommended that you seek legal advice before contemplating introducing liquidated damages clauses.

If our answer or publications do not provide you with enough information please contact the Agency's Head Office: 028 9032 1442 - or our Regional Office: 028 7126 9639.

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Q

I have not been paid any wages for the last 4 weeks and my employer keeps promising he will pay me, but I can’t wait any longer, is there anything I can do about this?

A

Failure to pay outstanding wages is potentially viewed as an unlawful deduction from wages.  If you have been unsuccessful in dealing with this matter informally with your employer than you may wish to raise a complaint in writing using the  grievance procedure,  the first step of which is to put your complaint in writing to your employer.  If, following the completion of the grievance procedure you have still not received the outstanding wages you may wish to lodge a claim with the Industrial Tribunal .

Where a problem or disagreement in the workplace is likely to lead to a tribunal claim the Labour Relations Agency will often be able to help employers and employees find a solution that is acceptable to both. This service is known as Pre-Claim Conciliation. It can save you the time, stress and expense normally associated with a tribunal claim.  You can find out more about Pre-Claim Conciliation at the following link or by contacting our Helpline service:

http://www.lra.org.uk/index/resolving-disputes/pre-claim_conciliation.htm

Further information on deductions from wages is available in the Labour Relations Agency Information Note 7 - Protection of Workers in relation to Wage Deductions by and Payments to Employers using the following link

Information Note -Deductions from wages by employers

See nidirect(opens new window) and nibusinessinfo(opens new window)

If our answer or publications do not provide you with enough information please contact the Agency's Head Office: 028 9032 1442 - or our Regional Office: 028 7126 9639.

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Q

My employer has said that she is going to reduce our hourly rate from £6.50 to £6.00 per week, can she do this?

A

No, an employer cannot reduce an employee’s wages or salary without first reaching agreement with the employee; failure to do so could amount to a unilateral breach of contract  and an unlawful deduction from wages..  It is suggested that you raise your concerns about the proposed reduction with your employer informally first, and if unsuccessful, you may wish to raise a complaint in writing using the grievance procedure as set out in the Labour Relation's Code of Practice on Disciplinaryand Grievance Procedures, the first step of which is to put your complaint in writing to your employer.  If you are unsuccessful in achieving a desirable outcome upon completion of the grievance procedure, you may wish to consider taking a claim to the Industrial Tribunal.  

Where a problem or disagreement in the workplace is likely to lead to a tribunal claim the Labour Relations Agency will often be able to help employers and employees find a solution that is acceptable to both. This service is known as Pre-Claim Conciliation. It can save you the time, stress and expense normally associated with a tribunal claim.  You can find out more about Pre-Claim Conciliation at the following link or by contacting our Helpline service:

http://www.lra.org.uk/index/resolving-disputes/pre-claim_conciliation.htm

Further information on deductions from wages is available in the Labour Relations Agency Information Note 7 –which can be downloaded from here,

Information Note -Deductions from wages by employers

See nidirect(opens new window) and nibusinessinfo(opens new window)

An employer who is proposing to change an employee’s terms and conditions of employment (including pay) should fully consult with that employee or their representative and explain the reasons for the change in order to reach agreement.  Guidance for employers on agreeing changes to contracts of employment is available from the Labour Relations Agency’s Advisory Guide – Advice on agreeing and changing a contract of employment.

If our answer or publications do not provide you with enough information please contact the Agency's Head Office: 028 9032 1442 - or our Regional Office: 028 7126 9639.

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