Has my employer made unlawful deductions to my wages?
If your employer owes you money for one of the following reasons they are classified as unlawful deductions of wages:
you have not been paid notice pay
you have not been paid overtime that you are entitled to
you have not been paid a contractual bonus
you have not been paid redundancy pay
you have been overpaid and your employer makes unreasonable deductions from your wages to correct an overpayment rather than taking smaller amounts over a period of time
you work in retail and you have been docked pay because of cash shortages in the till or missing stock
The Employments Rights Act 1996 determines the circumstances in which:
An employer can and cannot deduct wages from a worker’s salary; and
An employer may receive a payment from a worker.
When can an employer deduct money from wages?
There are only three circumstances in which an employer can deduct money from wages.
It is required by law (for example, income tax, national insurance contributions);
The deductions are authorised in your contract;
You have provided written consent that the deductions may be made.
This can also be the case when the purpose of the deduction is reimbursement of:
An overpayment of wages
An overpayment in respect of expenses incurred by the worker in carrying out his employment
Unless your employment contract stipulates otherwise your employer is entitled to take money off your pay in the following circumstances.
If you are late work for work
If you take a day off work that your employer has not authorised. For example, if you have not properly booked a day’s leave
If you are off sick and are not entitled to sick pay (except statutory pay) in your contract
If you take time off work to care for a child who is unwell and cannot go to school or nursery
If you are unable to get into work because the roads are blocked by snow.
If you are unable to attend work because you have to attend to an emergency at home. For example, a flood.
The definition of wages includes:
Any fee, bonus, commission, holiday pay or any other emolument under the worker’s contract of employment
Statutory sick pay
Statutory maternity pay
Statutory paternity pay or additional statutory paternity pay
Statutory adoption pay
A guarantee payment
Any payment for time off under Part VI of the Employment Rights Act 1996 or section 169 of the Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992.
Remuneration on suspension on medical grounds and remuneration on suspension on maternity grounds pursuant to sections 64 and 68 or the Employment Rights Act 1996
Remuneration on ending the supply of an agency worker on maternity grounds;
Any sum payable pursuant to an order for reinstatement or re-engagement by an Employment Tribunal
Any sum payable by order of an Employment Tribunal for the continuation of a contract of employment under section 130 of the Employment Rights Act 1996 or section 164 of the Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992
Remuneration under a protective award under the Employment Rights Act 1996, section189.
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