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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 47892
Experience:  Qualified Employment Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
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I have a dispute with my employer about an agreement we made

Customer Question

I have a dispute with my employer about an agreement we made for money to be paid while working in my leave.
Submitted: 12 months ago.
Category: Employment Law
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 12 months ago.

Hello, my name is***** am a qualified lawyer and I will be assisting you with your question today.

Expert:  Ben Jones replied 12 months ago.

Please can you provide some more information on the situation so that I can advise? Thank you

Customer: replied 12 months ago.
Because of staff shortage I was not able to take my annual leave. I negotiated with management to be paid a fee of £110.00 per hour (I am a consultant). They owed me 367 hours. Unfortunately they did not give me much in the form of written agreement stating the amount. I however mentioned the sum under discussion and said that if they did not agree to the fee I would rather then take the leave. I received one letter saying they will pay in full. They however only paid £46.00 per hour. I put in a grievance but they are ignoring me.
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 12 months ago.

OK, thank you for your response. I will review the relevant information and laws and will get back to you at the earliest opportunity. There is no need to wait here as you will receive an email when I have responded. Also, please do not responded to this message as it will just push your question to the back of the queue and you may experience unnecessary delays. Thank you.

Expert:  Ben Jones replied 12 months ago.

Many thanks for your patience. If you did this as a separate agreement outside of your employment contract and essentially worked as a consultant during that time, then this is not going to be a matter related to your normal employment with them as it does not relate to the employment relationship under your normal employment contract. So a grievance could potentially be ignored.

It does mean however that you can pursue it as a breach of contract issue separately, such as through the small claims court. The fact that there was no written agreement in place would not really make any difference from a legal perspective because a legal contract can be just as legally binding whether it was in writing or verbal. The only issue is that with a verbal one it would be your word against theirs so not always easy to prove what was agreed in reality.

But you do have protection in the circumstances and you do have options on taking this further if needed.

This is your basic legal position. I have more detailed advice for you in terms of the specific 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, there is no extra cost and leaving a rating will not close the question and we can continue this discussion. Thank you

Expert:  Ben Jones replied 12 months ago.

Hello, I see you have read my response to your query. Please let me know if this has answered your original question and if you need me to discuss the next steps in more detail? In the meantime please take a second to leave a positive rating by selecting 3, 4 or 5 starts from the top of the page. The question will not close and I can continue with my advice as discussed. Thank you

Customer: replied 12 months ago.
Should I take this to court? The sum involved is about £17000.00. Do I need a solicitor for this?
Would the cost fighting this not be excessive for the amount owing?
Customer: replied 12 months ago.
Is it possible to take it to a Tribunal? Just for information the employer is the NHS (a Foundation Trust hospital). I have all the e-mails I sent to the Divisional manager, the Clinical lead, The divisional Director, The Medical Director and the Transformation officer. The letters all state the fee I was negotiating about. I also have a letter where I was told I would be paid in full (unfortunately not mentioning the sum). Lastly I also have a letter where I inform them that if they were not prepared to pay the agreed amount I would gladly take the leave instead. Is this not enough proof that I have a legitimate claim? If I decide to go ahead should I have a solicitor send them a letter indicating that I would take it further?
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 12 months ago.

Hi there I would happily answer follow up questions, if you could please lave your rating for the initial response then I can continue helping, thank you

Ben Jones and other Employment Law Specialists are ready to help you
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 12 months ago.

Thank you. You do not officially need a solicitor but if your claim is for more than £10k it will not go to the small claims court which means that there is a risk if you lose that you will be responsible for the other side’s legal fees. So it may pay to use a solicitor to ensure you have a strong case and do the right things to reduce that risk. Similarly you do not need a solicitor to send them a letter before you claim but it can help to show you re taking it seriously and taking formal legal advice to try and twist their arm a bit

You will not be able to take this to a tribunal if it was work you did as a consultant and not under a contract of employment (.e. you were working as an independent contractor under a contract for service).

As to what you need to do, whenever a dispute arises over money owed by one party to another, the debtor can be pursued through the civil courts for recovery of the debt. As legal action should always be seen as a last resort, there are certain actions that should be taken initially to try and resolve this matter informally and without having to involve the courts. It is recommended that the process follows these steps:

1. Reminder letter – if no reminders have been sent yet, one should be sent first to allow the debtor to voluntarily pay what is due.

2. Letter before action – if informal reminders have been sent but these have been ignored, the debtor must be sent a formal letter asking them to repay the debt, or at least make arrangements for its repayment, within a specified period of time. A reasonable period to demand a response by would be 10 days. They should be advised that if they fail to do contact you in order to resolve this matter, formal legal proceedings will be commenced to recover the debt. This letter serves as a ‘final warning’ and gives the other side the opportunity to resolve this matter without the need for legal action.

3. If you wish to go down the legal route instead of a statutory demand, a claim can be commenced online by going to www.moneyclaim.gov.uk. Once the claim form is completed it will be sent to the debtor and they will have a limited time to defend it. If they are aware legal proceedings have commenced it could also prompt them to reconsider their position and perhaps force them to contact you to try and resolve this.

Whatever correspondence is sent, it is always advisable to keep copies and use recorded delivery so that there is proof of delivery and a paper trail. The court may need to refer to these if it gets that far.