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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 47354
Experience:  Qualified Employment Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
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Unlawful deductions from wages

Customer Question

unlawful deductions from wages
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Employment Law
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
didnt get to finish question. i work in a garage. when someone drives off without paying for fuel the boss charges staff the amount lost in money. there is nothing in my contract that says i am in any way liable and i know surely individuals cannot be held financially liable for third party theft but still he takes it out of our wages without our permission. This has never been agreed in person or in writing. he is not allowed to do this - it is illegal?
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.
Hello have you ever given your agreement in any other way to these deductions?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
no never
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.
This likely amounts to an unlawful deduction from wages, which is made illegal under the Employment Rights Act 1996. Under law, an employer can only make deductions from, or withhold an employee’s wages in the following circumstances:{C}· If it is legally allowed (e.g. to deduct tax);{C}· If it is to recover an earlier overpayment of wages made by the employer;{C}· If their contract specifically allows for the deductions to be made; or{C}· If the employee has given their explicit written agreement for the deductions to be made. If none of the above exemptions apply, the deductions will most likely be unlawful and you can pursue the employer to recover these deductions or make them stop. This is your basic legal position. I have more detailed advice for you in terms of the exact steps you need to follow to take this further, which I wish to discuss so please take a second to leave a positive rating for the service so far (by selecting 3, 4 or 5 stars) and I can continue with that and answer any further questions you may have. Don’t worry, leaving a rating will not close the question and we can continue this discussion. Thank you
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Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.
Thank you. In order to try and resolve this, the employer should be contacted in writing, advised that this is being treated as unlawful deduction of wages and ask them to pay back the money within 7 days. Advise them that if they fail to pay the money that is owed, legal proceedings could follow.
If the employer does not return the money as requested, the following options are available:
1. Employment Tribunal - the time limit to claim is only 3 months from the date the deductions were made. To make the claim, form ET1 needs to be completed and submitted - you can find it here: https://www.employmenttribunals.service.gov.uk/employment-tribunals
2. County Court – this is an alternative way to claim and the advantage is that the time limit is a much longer 6 years and is usually used if you are out of time to claim in the Tribunal. The claim can be made online by going to: www.moneyclaim.gov.uk.
Hopefully by warning the employer you are aware of your rights and are not going to hesitate taking further action they will be prompted to reconsider their position and work towards resolving this.

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