Unlawful deductions from wages 

What is an unlawful deduction?

This is when an employer deducts from the employee’s wages without agreement, or statutory authorisation. Agreement can be contractual, or obtained just before the deduction is to take place.

What shall I do about a deduction that I did not agree to?

You should raise a formal grievance with your employer, specifying the period when you believe the deductions have taken place. Your employer must then invite you to a meeting to attempt to resolve the issue. If this is not successful then you can proceed to an Employment Tribunal. You should note that claims must be brought within three months of the last deduction.

I am paid monthly. This month my wages have not gone into my account. Am I able to resign and claim I was constructively dismissed?

Technically speaking a failure to pay wages would be in breach of contract and as such an unlawful deduction. However, this one-off breach will not normally justify resignation and a claim for constructive unfair dismissal. At first instance, you should raise a grievance with your employer to try and resolve the matter.

If a worker does not attend work without permission, do they have the right to be paid for that day?

Absences without prior permission are unauthorised. An employer does not have to pay the employee for unauthorised absences unless the employer agrees to make payment or allows the individual to take that day as holiday, even if, for example, it is the weather conditions preventing the individual from travelling to work. The contract of employment may provide further information.

I was late for work by 30 minutes. Should I still be paid?

There is no automatic right to receive wages when an employee does not arrive at the contractual start time (unless the contract states otherwise).

If an overpayment is made in wages, does it have to be repaid to the employer?

If your employer has overpaid you they can deduct the overpayment from you without this deduction being illegal. However, the deduction of the overpayment needs to be made reasonably i.e. repayments made over a period of time, to avoid undermining the employment relationship.


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