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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 55323
Experience:  Qualified Employment Solicitor
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I’ve worked for same employer for 16 years. I have 30 hours

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For Ben JonesHi I’ve worked for same employer for 16 years. I have 30 hours a week contract. My employer saying i owe 58 hours unpaid work as I wasn’t rostered enough hours on rota in December/January but i was still paid for 30 hours.I phoned ACAS twice just to clarify this and they said that I do not owe any hours as 58 hours worth of work wasn’t offered to me. My rota is cleared by two managers and i am not responsible for doing my rota it is done for me. Also ACAS stated that my employer cannot carry over any hours not worked to the following weeks or months as i am on a weekly contract. I have checked my contract and nothing is in there about owing hours. Please can you confirm what ACAS told me is correct. I am now being made to work 38 hours a week but only getting paid for 30 hours until my 58 hours debt is paid off!!

Hello, my name is***** am a qualified lawyer and I will be assisting you with your question today.

Has your employer provided any reason for the delay in confirming this to you?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
No none. Another employee has been told the same

OK, thank you for your response and for the phone call request. I am not available to talk at this present time but leave it with me for now and I will review the relevant information and laws and get back to you at the earliest opportunity. There is no need to wait here as you will receive an email when I have responded. Also, please do not respond to this message as it will just push your question to the back of the queue and you may experience unnecessary delays. Thank you.

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.

Please take a quick second to leave a positive rating for the service so far by selecting 3, 4 or 5 stars above. I can continue answering follow up questions and in particular can also discuss the options you have on taking this further if needed. There is no extra cost for this - leaving your rating now will not close the question and means we can still continue this discussion. Thank you

Ben Jones and other Employment Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thank you. Will leave a rating. Can I just ask what are the usual steps to take if they continue to say i owe hours and only pay me 30 hours when I work 38 until the so called debt is payed off.

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 (, or by phone on 0300(###) ###-####