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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 50212
Experience:  Qualified Employment Solicitor
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Hello, iv been working for the same company (a cafe bar) for

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Hello, iv been working for the same company (a cafe bar) for 10 years and on Tuesday my boss told me I'm getting a pay cut.
Iv been on the same wage £9.95 p/h for four years, he now wants me to work for £8.50 p/h.
The only reasons he gave were that I got paid higher then the manager at another site and that the company was still paying for the refurb in November 13.
I said I wasn't happy getting paid less for doing exactly the same job and that I'd be getting paid less than the kitchen staff. He said that he'd put a bonus scheme into place so that I could make up my wages and that if any new kitchen staff were hired they'd be on a lower wage.
It's a small business and we don't have contracts. Everything that was said was just verbal with no witnesses.
I want to leave as I'm very insulted.
Please could you tell me if I have any legal rights.

Thanks, c.blenkiron

Ben Jones :

Hello, my name is ***** ***** it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today. What are you hoping to achieve here - do you still want to leave but pursue the employer afterwards? Or do you wish to stay there but try to retain your pay?

Please note I am in tribunal today so may not respond until later in the day, thank you

Customer: Hi Ben, I want to leave, I feel insulted. I'm worried that if I speak to him about the legal side of things he might say that our conversation didn't take place. Would it be better to wait until the end of the month so that iv a got pay slip to prove the pay cut?
Customer: The only reason I can see for the pay cut is to get rid of me, surely no one would do the same job and have the same responsibilities for £1.50 less an hour
Ben Jones :

Many thanks for your patience. If the employer tries to implement a pay cut then that would most likely amount to a breach of contract and can also lead to you claiming constructive dismissal. This occurs when the following two elements are present:

  • Serious breach of contract by the employer; and

  • An acceptance of that breach by the employee, who in turn treats the contract of employment as at an end. The employee must act in response to the breach and must not delay any action too long.


A common breach by the employer occurs when it, or its employees, have broken the implied contractual term of trust and confidence. The conduct relied on could be a single act, or a series of less serious acts over a period of time, which together could be treated as serious enough (usually culminating in the 'last straw' scenario). In this example the pay cut, when there was no specific clause in your contract allowing the employer to do so can amount to the breach – after all your pay is a fundamental oat of the contract and reducing that without your consent can make it impossible for you to continue working there.


There is no harm in raising the issue now, especially if you do it in writing. If this prompts them to keep your pay then hopefully that will resolve matters but if they go ahead anyway, even if there is no record of the conversation, the fact the pay was reduced and it is reflected in your payslip would be sufficient to show the employer’s actions that led to you having to leave.


You would initially be expected to raise a formal grievance in order to officially bring your concerns to the employer's attention and give them an opportunity to try and resolve them.


If resignation appears to be the only option, it must be done without unreasonable delay so as not to give an impression that the employer's breach had been accepted. Any resignation would normally be with immediate effect and without providing any notice period. It is advisable to resign in writing, stating the reasons for the resignation and that this is being treated as constructive dismissal.


Following the resignation, the option of pursuing a claim for constructive dismissal exists. This is only available to employees who have at least 2 years' continuous service. There is a time limit of 3 months from the date of resignation to submit a claim in the employment tribunal.


An alternative way out is to approach the employer on a 'without prejudice' basis (i.e. off the record) to try and discuss the possibility of leaving under a settlement agreement. Under a settlement agreement, the employee gets compensated for leaving the company and in return promises not to make any claims against the employer in the future. It is essentially a clean break, although the employer does not have to agree to it so it will be subject to negotiation. In any event, there is nothing to lose by raising this possibility with them because you cannot be treated detrimentally for suggesting it and it would not be used against you.


Hope this clarifies your position?

Ben Jones :

Hello, I see you have accessed and read my answer to your query. Please let me know if this has answered your original question or if you need me to clarify anything else for you in relation to this? I just need to know whether to close the question or not? Thanks

Customer: Sorry for the late reply, does everything you've said still stand if I don't have a contract. We've never been given them.
Customer: thank you for your help
Ben Jones :

Hi, the lack of written contract will not automatically change anything. A contract would still be implied, even if there is nothing in writing. Its terms would depend on what has been applied overt the years and what has been agreed between you and the employer. So it should not make much of a difference as long as you have been paid the same rate for a while and it can be shown through your payslips that this was your contractual wage

Ben Jones :

Hope this clarifies matters for you?

Customer: Thank you for your help.
Ben Jones :

You are most welcome

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