Thank you. As mentioned, if there is no clause allowing the deductions to be made from your pay, this potentially amounts to an unlawful deduction from wages, which is dealt with 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 the contract specifically allows for the deductions to be made
· If the employee has given their explicit written consent
If none of the above exemptions apply, the deductions will most likely be unlawful. To take the matter further, the employer should be contacted in writing, advised that their actions are treated as unlawful deduction from wages and ask them to repay the amount in question within 7 days. State that if they fail to do so, legal proceedings could follow to recover what is owed.
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. Before making the claim ACAS must be engaged to negotiate with the employer and try to resolve this without the need for legal action. The relevant form to start this can be found here: https://ec.acas.org.uk/Submission/SingleClaimantPage
2. County Court – this is an alternative way to claim and the advantage is that the time limit is a much longer 6 years. Also there is no need to negotiate before starting a claim. The claim can be made online by going to: www.moneyclaim.gov.uk.
Hopefully by warning the employer that their actions are likely unlawful and that legal action is considered, they will be prompted to try and resolve this.