Employers are legally obliged to pay their workers who are
willing and able to work their contractual hours (the exception to
this is where the contract has an express term that provides for a
lay off situation: otherwise payment must be made).
If your wages have not been paid, the starting point is to write
a letter to your employer requesting all unpaid wages. Sometimes,
this will be enough to prompt the employer to pay what they
Time limit for making a claim for unpaid wages
Making a request in writing may not be possible where the
three-month time limit for recovering the money through an
Employment Tribunal is due to expire. The deadline for recovering
wages is three months minus one day from when the money was owed.
This is usually the last day that the money could have been paid to
the worker legally.
If you are concerned about unpaid wages and think time is
running out to recover what you are owed, contact our employment
solicitors today on freephone 0800 422 0241 or complete our
contact form and we will get back to you.
Deductions from wages
Employers cannot make deductions from wages unless:
- there is a statutory requirement to make such a deduction, such
as tax and national insurance, or student loans payments.
- there is an express term in the contract of
- the worker has agreed in writing to the deduction
Any deduction made without such authority can be recovered at
employment tribunal under part 2 of the Employment Rights Act 1996.
The claim is for unlawful deduction from wages.
Extra protection for retail workers
Retail workers have extra protection regarding deductions from
wages. This is because many retail companies make deductions from
the wages of their staff when there are stock deficiencies or when
the till doesn't balance at the end of the day.
The legal definition of retail employment is quite wide and
includes workers in shops, petrol stations, restaurants, banks and
building societies, as well as those who work in the sale and
delivery of produce such as people who work on a milk delivery
round, and those in the building trade.
Retail employment involves the worker carrying out retail
transactions directly with members of the public, and collecting
amounts payable in connection with the sale and supply of goods and
What happens if a stock or cash discrepancy is detected?
If a discrepancy in stock or cash is detected during the retail
worker's employment the employer can deduct no more than
10% of the gross wage due on any given pay day, and can
only continue to recover up to 10% in the following weeks until the
sum has been recovered.
In the final week of employment, any outstanding amount can be
recovered by the employer. Employers are not allowed to make
deductions for cash shortages or loss of stock more than 12 months
after the employer has discovered or ought to have reasonably
discovered the shortage.
If you think your employer has unlawfully deducted amounts from
your wages, the first step, as with unpaid wages, would be to make
a request in writing for the wages owed. However, if this is
not successful, you may wish to consider taking legal advice.