Employment Lawyers Can Answer Your Employment Law Questions
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Many thanks for your patience. I do agree that ACAS are correct in their advice, because you cannot be forced to automatically owe that money if work was jot offered to you. Your position is basically such that you are contracted to work 30h a week and the employer is contractually obliged to pay you that amount regardless of how many hours you actually work.
They could have made you liable for any hours you did not work and made you owe them, but this must have been covered very clearly in a specific contractual clause. So they should have had a clause saying for example you are not guaranteed 30h a week and if you get paid for these but do not end up working them, for whatever reason, you will owe them these hours back. So check the contract very carefully to see if they are allowed to do anything like this and if they cannot - what they are doing will amount to breach of contract and potential unlawful deduction of wages.
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You should consider raising a grievance first to register your formal dissatisfaction over this. If you had to take it further then you have 3 months in which to do so and you would be going to the employment tribunal.
Before a person can make a claim in the employment tribunal, they would be required to participate in mandatory early conciliation through the Advisory Conciliation and Arbitration Service (ACAS).
The purpose of this process is to allow ACAS to mediate between the claimant and respondent to agree on an out of court settlement in order to avoid the need for legal action in tribunal. The respondent does not have to engage in these discussions, or if they do and the talks are unsuccessful, the claimant will be issued with a certificate allowing them to make a claim.
However, if a settlement is reached, the claimant would agree not to proceed with the claim in return for the agreed financial settlement. Other terms can also be agreed as part of the settlement, such as an agreed reference.
To initiate the conciliation procedure ACAS can be contacted online by filling in the following form (https://ec.acas.org.uk/Submission/SingleClaimantPage), or by phone on 0300(###) ###-####