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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 32086
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice
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I am asking this question on behalf of my son who has worked

Customer Question

I am asking this question on behalf of my son who has worked for almost 3 years for his employer - on minimum wage.
My son is now leaving for another job and over £1000 has been deducted for an ‘initial advance’ - noted as such on the final pay slip.
He was paid what the employer calls an ‘initial advance’ at the end of September 2013. He started work in August and received his first pay at the end of August 2013. However this ‘initial advance’ was not noted on the September 2013 pay slip and no extra payment was made, just the normal monthly payment.
Effectively it seems to me that his employer just shifted the name of the payment month so that my son was paid in November 2013 for September 2013, and so on. The employer keeps using the term ‘doubling up’ to my son when discussing this and frankly my son doesn’t understand what his employer is talking about.
The employer states that as my son received pay for both this May and June in his final pay slip, that double payment justifies the taking back of the September 2013 payment.
I have tried to understand this - sometimes I think it works and then I’ll look at it again and think that something dodgy is going on, because effectively it means that my son only received 11 months pay in the 12 month period August 2013 to July 2014.
His minimum wage was made up to the minimum level by adding ‘commission’. He worked in a shop. Perhaps this might have some relevance.
Thank you for your time.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.

Hello when you actually look at the hours he has worked and the pay he received was he paid for all time worked regardless of when that was paid?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Well up until he had the September 2013 payslip (gross amount) he was paid for all hors worked. But to me the employer taking back that September payment means that effectively my son was only paid for 11 out of the first 12 months he worked.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Sorry just read my message - first line should have read until he had the Sept 2013 payslip ( gross amount ) taken back
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.

ok so he was paid at the end of Aug for the August work, then he received this payment in Sept, apparently not for the Sept hours and instead he was paid in Oct for the previous month. Then he continued being paid for each month in the following month? Assuming this was the case I presume he was paid for May in June and also for June in the final pay he received?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
that's correct, he was paid at the end of June for the hours he worked in both May and June. It seems to me the employer is simply renaming the months as my son doesn't seem to have received any additional payment for his days worked.
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.

ok from what you have said it would appear that he was paid an extra month. Aug was the payment for the Aug hours. for the Sep hours he was paid in Oct and then every month h was paid for the previous one so he has effectively been paid for every month, including the last two months when he was paid in June for his May hours and for his Jun hours. So in effect there is an extra payment given to him in Sept which did not cover any month's hours because he was still paid for his Sept hours in Oct. Do I understand this correctly?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
This is where I think it gets complicated. In October 2013 he just received one month's payment - not an extra payment for September on top of the October payment, but the employer has called the October payment the September payment. The way I see it for the first 12 months the employer only pays for 11 months if he takes the September 2013 payment back.
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.

ok let's try and see it from this perspective:

Aug - paid in Aug

Sep - paid in Oct

Oct - paid in Nov

Nov - paid in Dec

Dec - paid in Jan

Jan - paid in Feb

Feb - paid in Mar

Mar - paid in Apr

Apr - paid in May

May - paid in Jun

Jun - paid in Jun

if the above are correct then there would still be the outstanding payment paid in Sep which did not cover any month's hours?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
This is the way the employer describes it and I have worked it out this way as well and it looks like it works. However if we look at all the pay slips (which show payment in days worked rather than hours) then it appears that each payslip (including the doubled one at the end and the original September one) covers exactly the days worked for each month. Therefore no extra payment is apparent. This is the issue we have - it seems to be able to be worked out both ways. It may be that I have to get an accountant to look at this as it may be more a creative accounting than a legal issue.
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.

At this stage it may be a good idea indeed. The legal position is really relevant once you have worked out whether he was paid for the hours he has worked and what the employer can do in terms of withholding payment for hours worked. So if you want to check that with an accountant and get back to em then I can advise on the legal position

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thank you, ***** ***** I'll have to do that.
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.

No worries you can leave this quesiton open if you wanted to and get back to me when you are ready