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Unlawful Deductions

An unlawful deduction of wages is when a worker or an employee has not been paid at all or has found their wages being underpaid without proper authority.

If you think your wages have been deducted unlawfully, the first step is to try and resolve the dispute with your employer.  If this isn’t successful, you may be able to bring a claim to an Employment Tribunal

Under the Employment Rights Act 1996, employers do have the right to make deductions from the wages of their workers/employees whereby:

  • It is required by law (eg. Income tax, national insurance contributions)
  • The deductions are authorised in your contract
  • The worker/employee has provided written consent that a deduction may be made

If your employer owes you money for any of the following reasons, it may be an unlawful deduction of wages:

  • You have not been paid accrued but untaken holiday pay at the termination of your employment
  • You have not been paid notice pay and were not dismissed for gross misconduct
  • You have not been paid overtime that you are entitled to
  • You have not been paid a contractual bonus
  • You have been made redundant with more than two years continuous service and not been paid redundancy pay

There are other circumstances in which your employer may be entitled to take money from your wages (unless your employment contract states otherwise); for example:

  • If you are late for work
  • If you take a day off that wasn’t authorised by your employer
  • If you are off sick and are not entitled to sick pay (except statutory sick 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 an emergency at home, eg. a flood.

Our employment solicitors have a wealth of experience and will clearly explain your options at the start.  We can help you find the best solution for your particular situation.

For further information, please contact Lisa Aitken on 01926 491181 or email:

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