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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 78650
Experience:  Qualified Employment Solicitor
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I have a question regarding SSP from my employer. I am

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Good afternoon, I have a question regarding SSP from my employer. I am currently off work, and my employer made a mistake in my salary last month, and paid me a full month (I’m not entitled to this as I found out this week!), so they have take. ALL my SSP to offset this mistake! This means that this month I have no money after paying my bills to live on! The total taken from my SSP was £548 without my prior knowledge! It’s this legal, or could I ask for it to be paid into my account?
JA: Are you hourly or salaried? How many hours do you work each week?
Customer: I am usually salaried (but I have only been with the company for 18 months, so don’t qualify under their policies to get full pay from them, which Inunderstand completely). I usually work 30hours per week.
JA: Where are you located? Wage-and-hour laws vary by location.
Customer: I live in Lancashire, Chorley, near to Preston. I should also say I work for a Private Hospital and not NHS.
JA: Is there anything else the Lawyer should know before I connect you? Rest assured that they'll be able to help you.
Customer: No I don’t think so.
Hello, I’m Ben, an employment solicitor, and it’s my pleasure to assist you. I may ask for some information first to determine the legal position.
Customer: replied 12 days ago.
Good afternoon. Ben, thank you for getting back to me. Yes, that’s fine, ask away!

I understand your employer has taken back an overpayment through your SSP without your consent/knowledge. Did you make them aware of the overpayment when you received this at the time?

I should also make you aware that this is not always an instant service, due to various legal engagements I could have and I may not be able to reply immediately. However, rest assured that I will be dealing with your query and will get back to you as soon as I can. Thanks.

Customer: replied 12 days ago.
I didn’t make them aware, because I didn’t know it was an overpayment. I thought it was my previous months salary (for which I worked a full month), but it wasn’t, it was for that current month. It was only when I rang them to ask why I hadn’t received any payment that they explained it to me!
Customer: replied 12 days ago.
8230;..by payment I mean SSP.

OK and is there anything in your contract that allows them to do this?

Customer: replied 12 days ago.
Not that I am aware.
Customer: replied 12 days ago.
Obviously, I don’t expect not pay this back, but as you can appreciate, not only did they not inform me, but they took the whole of my SSP, which has left me with nothing.

OK I understand and thank you for providing the information requested. Please do not worry and leave it with me for now. I will get back to you with my full reply on here; usually the same day and the system will notify you when this happens.

Customer: replied 12 days ago.
Thank you

Many thanks for your patience, it is appreciated. I am now pleased to be able to provide further assistance with your query. First of all, I am sorry to hear about the issues brought up by this. It must be a frustrating situation to be going through.

If someone has genuinely been overpaid by their employer, they will likely be responsible for repaying some, or all, of that money. The employer can rely on the common law remedy of restitution to recover the overpayment. That attempts to prevent the unjust enrichment of the employee at the expense of the employer.

From a legal perspective, an employer has the option to deduct any previous overpayments from the employee’s current wages. This is a right that they have under Section 14(1) of the Employment Rights Act 1996:

https://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1996/18/section/14

This basically means that they can withhold money from any future wages they pay the employee until the amount that is owed has been repaid.

However, this is not an unconditional right and the employer is still expected to act in a fair and reasonable manner; something they are required to do under the implied contractual term of mutual trust and confidence. What this means is that whilst they can make the deductions to start with, they need to be conscious that this will reduce the employee’s wages and they should proceed in a fair way. That would involve discussions with the employee over the proposed deductions and agreeing on an amount that the employee is reasonably able to pay, taking into consideration their outgoings.

If the employer was to proceed with the deductions without checking what effect they may have on the employee, and they end up missing direct debits, bills, etc, that could amount to a breach of trust and confidence by the employer and potentially allow the employee to consider challenging them, including seeking compensation for any charges or penalties incurred as a result.

If that happens, then in the first instance, this should be pursued through a formal internal grievance, before any further action is taken. If the deductions have not been made yet, it is important to discuss with the employer a way forward and what repayment amount/interval should be applied.

Hopefully, I have answered your query in a way that is simple and easy to understand. If anything remains unclear, I will be more than happy to clarify it for you. In the meantime, thank you once again for using our services.

I trust that everything has now been dealt with to your satisfaction and your original question has been resolved. If you have any further queries about it, please do not hesitate to get back to me on here. In the meantime, I wish you all the best.

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