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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 49806
Experience:  Qualified Employment Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
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Can you withhold a person's wages if they are not performing

Customer Question

Can you withhold a person's wages if they are not performing the work allocated to them in their contract?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Employment Law
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 2 years ago.
Hello, my name is***** am a solicitor on this site and it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today.can you tell me are you withholding a employees wages and can you give me some more information on this please.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

We have two secondees on a EU project and they are not doing the work they are expected to perform. They have standard fixed term Employment Contracts with us as well as a Secondment Agreement. They have been here two months but we are not satisfied with their performance. They seem to have done very little work and are not taking any notice of the project manager. We need to get them to cooperate but without destroying the project.

Their employer who have seconded them to us for the length of the six and four month secondments is visiting on Thursday and Friday but the secondees are due to receive their salaries on Friday.

I will be discussing the situation with their employer and the secondees but I just need to know if withholding their wages until they hit their deadline is legal.

Expert:  Ben Jones replied 2 years ago.
Thank you for that information please leave this with me and I will get my advice ready for you on how to proceed with this. I will get back to you this evening.There is no need to wait on here I will email you when ready regards Ben.
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 2 years ago.
If you were to withhold their wages as suggested then that will likely 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:
• If it is legally allowed (e.g. to deduct tax);
• If it is to recover an earlier overpayment of wages made by the employer;
• If their contract specifically allows for the deductions to be made; or
• 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 the circumstances none of the exemptions would cover what you propose to do so unless there is a specific clause in their contract allowing you to do so, you will be acting unlawfully. What you would need to do instead is consider disciplining them for their non-performance of duties and eventually you may seek to terminate their secondment agreement if required. However, you would be required to pay them until that happens.
I trust this has answered your query. I would be grateful if you could please take a second to leave a positive rating (selecting 3, 4 or 5 starts at the top of the page). If for any reason you are unhappy with my response or if you need me to clarify anything before you go - please get back to me on here and I will assist further as best as I can. Thank you
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 2 years ago.
My full response should be visible on this page. Could you please let me know if it has answered your original question or whether you need me to clarify anything else in relation to this? If your query has been answered I would be grateful if you could please take a second to leave a positive rating, selecting 3, 4 or 5 starts at the top of the page. Thank you