The law protects individuals from having unauthorised deductions made from their wages, including complete non-payment. This protection applies both to employees and to some other workers.

One of three conditions has to be met for an employer lawfully to make deductions from wages or receive payments from a worker. The deduction or payment must be:

  • required or authorised by legislation (for example, income tax or national insurance deductions); or
  • authorised by the worker's contract - provided the worker has been given a written copy of the relevant terms or a written explanation of them before it is made; or
  • consented to by the worker in writing before it is made.

Protections for individuals in retail work make it illegal for an employer to deduct more than ten per cent from the gross amount of any payment of wages (except the final payment on termination of employment) if the deduction is made because of cash shortages or stock deficiencies. Workers who believe they have suffered an unlawful deduction from wages can make a complaint to an Industrial Tribunal.


Pay deductions


Making deductions

LRA  Information Note No.7  - Deductions from wages by employers

Telephone Enquiry Point

The Agency’s Enquiry Point is available to employers, employees, trade unions and others. Enquiry Point advisors provide information and advice on a wide range of employment matters. The Enquiry Point is also an important contact point for identifying circumstances, or clients, who would benefit from being referred to other Agency services.

The Enquiry Point provides clear, confidential, independent and impartial advice to assist the caller in resolving issues in the workplace.

While the advisors cannot provide a legal opinion they can help callers gain a better understanding of their rights and responsibilities as well as identifying possible options to help resolve their issues.

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Contact Us

Please note that we cannot deal with employment-related enquiries by e-mail. To receive information or advice about an employment-related issue, please telephone our Helpline on Belfast 90 321442 where an officer will speak with you directly about your query. Please note that the Agency can arrange the services of an interpreter if required.

If you have an employment relations issue in Great Britain please contact the ACAS Helpline on 0300 123 1100 .

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