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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 47365
Experience:  Qualified Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
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I am being asked to work for free for a number of months due

Resolved Question:

I am being asked to work for free for a number of months due to companies cash flow issues , can this be done?
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 3 years ago.

Ben Jones :

Hello, my name is XXXXX XXXXX it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today. How long have you worked there for?

Customer:

It is a long story but I joined one firm in July last year the directors had the firm put into administration in February and I was transferred to another one of their companies in February.

Ben Jones :

Does your contract say you can be asked to work for reduced or no pay, or if they can lay you off without pay?

Customer:

As yet I haven't had any contract of employment, I was sent one in the old company however I was told not to sign it as "things could change" this contract said you had to "work hours required by the business but didn't say you had to do it for nothing".

Ben Jones :

ok let me get my response ready please

Ben Jones :

You certainly cannot be forced to work for free as you have a legal right to be paid at least the National Minimum Wage, unless your contract allowed your employer to lay you off unpaid for a specific period of time. Even then, they can only do it for a limited period, before you can ask to be released and not continue working there anymore. Furthermore, forcing you to go off unpaid when no contractual right to do so existed would amount to unlawful deduction of wages and breach of contract, which you can claim for if necessary.


 


However, due to your relatively short length of service (you need 2 years to qualify), you will not be protected against unfair dismissal. That means the employer could ask you to work for free, you could refuse to do so, and they can instead just terminate your current employment with them, without you being able to challenge it.


 


If they do not terminate your employment and you instead refuse to work for free but they stop paying you anyway, then that is going to be an unlawful deduction of wages and you can pursue them for the money you have lost out on due to their actions. However, that would only be possible if you specifically refuse to accept these changes, continue to work expecting to be paid as normal and they subsequently refuse to pay you.

Customer:

As part of the original contract it said either party had to give three months notice, would that still apply?

Ben Jones :

Yes it would and during that period you can expect to be paid your normal pay

Customer:

OK that helps a lot, feel much better. what do I do now in terms of ending this chat?

Ben Jones :

Just click on one of the smiley faces and that would close this conversation. Thank you

Customer:

Will do, thanks Ben very much appreciated.

Ben Jones :

you are most welcome

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