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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 68169
Experience:  Qualified Solicitor
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I have a bookkeeper who is trying to claim over double the

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I have a bookkeeper who is trying to claim over double the number of hours she was contracted to do. I have agreed to pay her contracted hours and the rate we agreed but she is challenging this.
JA: Where is your bookkeeper? It matters because laws vary by location.
Customer: UK England
JA: What steps has your bookkeeper taken so far?
Customer: She has submitted invoices for work she claims she carried out in the office and at home. However, she made it clear she would not claim for work she did at home but now she is.
JA: Anything else you want the Lawyer to know before I connect you?
Customer: Can I counter claim?

Hello, I’m Ben, a UK lawyer and will be dealing with your case today. I may also need to ask some questions to determine the legal position.

Did she inform you, at any point, of the time she was spending to complete the work?

Customer: replied 7 months ago.
Hi Ben

Hi there. Please provide the information requested

Customer: replied 7 months ago.
What questions would you like to ask?

Did she inform you, at any point, of the time she was spending to complete the work?

Customer: replied 7 months ago.
No. She did say that she was spending time at home but she wasn't going to claim for this. I only received a breakdown of hours at the end of the month. In addition, her performance was poor and I think she knew I would not be using her services going forward
Customer: replied 7 months ago.
I have offered to pay her the contracted hours but she is now refuting the claim.

Thank you. I will get back to you with my answer as soon as I can, which will be at some point today. The system will notify you when this happens. Please do not reply in the meantime as this may unnecessarily delay my response. Many thanks.

Customer: replied 7 months ago.
I sent her this message last week:Having reviewed your invoice and subsequent emails I can confirm London Urban wiil make a payment for 16 hours of activity which is what you were contracted to do on a monthly basis. i.e 4 hours/week. - £288.00Should your hours have exceeded this, it was your responsibility to make London Urban aware of this.You had confirmed on several occasions that you needed time to learn about Kashflow and that the time you carried out any activity at home would not be chargeable.Given your invoices, this is clearly not the case and therefore cannot sanction these hours in addition to the fact the time you are claiming is so far over the time the company had budgeted for you.Also, your scope of works was meant to cover both London Urban and London Polished Concrete. There has been no activity carried out with LPC in relation to CIS, VAT or any other reconciliation which has resulted in LPC being fined for late paymen
Customer: replied 7 months ago.
OK - thanks Ben

Many thanks for your patience. If extra hours over what was contracted were not agreed and on top of that, it was actually specifically agreed that she would not be charging for hours done outside of the office, you can refuse to pay for these.

At this stage it is not a case of you making a counter-claim, just a matter of challenging the worker and refusing to pay their invoices. The ball is then in their court and they have to decide how to take it forward. The only way to try and make you pay is by going to court and making a claim against you. That is when you can defend the claim to challenge the hours she has claimed, Even then you would not be making a counter-claim, unless you have any specific costs or losses incurred by yourselves as a result of her actions. SO it would be simply defending the claim rather than making a counter-claim against it and that is still on the condition that she decides to go that farm which she may not do.

Does this answer your query?

Customer: replied 7 months ago.
Thanks Ben - do you think it's wise for me to pay her the contracted hours as I was willing or now that she is in dispute, to hold and wait for her to make the claim?
Customer: replied 7 months ago.
These were her words in response to my email to her..'I categorically refute your claims.I attach a statment all invoices outstanding. I expect to be paid in full 30 days of this email. Thereafter, further action will be taken should payment not be received.Please be notified that I intend to apply interests -Late Payment of Commercial Debt Act 1988 for any late payments.'

You can indeed pay her what she is contractually due and perhaps even state that it is payment made in ‘full and final settlement’ of anything owe to her through your professional relationship. As mentioned, there is nothing stopping her from challenging this and making a claim but as it will be in the Small Claims Court the risks to you are not that great and she will have to pay her own legal costs so even if you lose you will not be liable for these. Does this clarify?

Ben Jones and other Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 7 months ago.
Thanks Ben - appreciate your expertise

All the best