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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 50178
Experience:  Qualified Solicitor
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Hello, At the beginning of this year, I received a letter

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At the beginning of this year, I received a letter from HR saying they were pleased to confirm a pay rise of 1%. I then received two payslips where the rise was not reflected. When I contacted HR, I was told that I should not have received the letter and that it was a mistake! My question is: Isn't this illegal? Can you confirm a pay rise in writing, then not follow through?

Thank you in advance for your help.

Bente M. Radnofsky
Hello, my name is XXXXX XXXXX it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today. How long have you worked there?

Ben Jones :

Hello, my name is XXXXX XXXXX it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today. Apart from the letter was there any other indication that a pay rise was due?

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

The letter said it was an annual increase of 1% in keeping with inflation. We've received this increase before, so it was not unexpected, merely routine.

This is not illegal as such. As you can imagine errors do happen and just because someone has said or promised something and communicated it to someone else, it does not make it legally binding. If the letter was sent genuinely in error then it can be retracted by the employer and you cannot force them to pay you the pay rise that you believed you were due. You never received anything in relation to that so there won’t be anything for the employer to try and recover but even if you did receive the promised rise and in the end it was determined that this was sent in error they could have tried to recover these overpayments. However, as mentioned nothing was paid here so there is nothing for the employer to recover in the circumstances.

You may certainly query the reasons for the error, why they believed this applied and try to get some more information about it, but in terms of forcing them to honour this and ensure that you get what you believed you were due, that would be difficult to enforce I’m afraid.

I'm sorry if this is not necessarily the answer you wanted to hear but I hope you understand I have a duty to be honest and explain the law as it actually stands and sometimes this does unfortunately mean delivering bad news. Please let me know if you need me to clarify anything.
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