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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
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My husband is leaving a company and they have said he owes

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My husband is leaving a company and they have said he owes them £1k from a payment they gave him when he first started 8.5 yrs ago for expenses (he had no credit card when he started so they gave him a forward payment). He submitted receipts and has all his expense records however he has no bank statements back to that time to show that they over paid on reimbursing his expenses i.e. you would expect there to have been no reimbursement of receipts for the first 1k, then repayments would have begun. He cannot prove that they didn't pay on his first 1k of receipts so they are asking for it back. We are not sure what to do.
Submitted: 10 months ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 10 months ago.

Hello, my name is***** am a qualified lawyer and I will be assisting you with your question today. Are they trying to deduct this from his wages?

Customer: replied 10 months ago.
Not at the moment, he has changed sub-company under the larger group within the time he has been there so they say they can't do that. Why they never mentioned this sooner they can't answer...
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 10 months ago.

Do you think the company has any evidence which they can use to show they are potentially in the right?

Customer: replied 10 months ago.
This is the thing - I think they need to prove it to us, so I have suggested that we don't pay until they provide some evidence that they overpaid but so far they haven't. Is it reasonable to hold out for this?
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 10 months ago.

Yes it is certainly reasonable for you to ask for such proof because at present they are in the wrong and are going on incorrect information. It is just the lack of any evidence that does not enable him to prove that what they are claiming is not correct and for him to challenge such a request. As far as their ability to pursue this is concerned, they have a couple of options. One is to deduct this amount from his pay before he leaves, however to do so they require a specific contractual clause allowing them to do this. In the event that no such clause exists then they will be guilty of unlawful deduction of wages. If they do not use this option, the only other thing they can do is to make a claim against him for this amount. This would go in the small claims court and it would be for them to provide that what they are claiming is correct, so they would need to provide the required evidence to convince the court that the amount is indeed owed. If they cannot do so then their claim is likely to fail.

This is your basic legal position. I have more detailed advice for you in terms of the rights he has to challenge them if they decide to deduct this from his pay, 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

Customer: replied 10 months ago.
Thank you for your answer, I need to discuss this with my husband and see if there has been any further information sent today before discussing any further.
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 10 months ago.

ok no problem. In the meantime I would be grateful if you could please quickly rate my answer by selecting 3, 4 or 5 starts at the top of the page - it only takes a second to do and is an important part of our process. I can still answer follow up questions afterwards if needed. Thank you

Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 46773
Experience: Qualified Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
Ben Jones and other Law Specialists are ready to help you
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 10 months ago.

Many thanks. In case they do decide to deduct this from his pay then it can potentially amount 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. 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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