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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Scots Law
Satisfied Customers: 78592
Experience:  Qualified Solicitor
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Is it legal for a job to withhold money that you worked for.

Customer Question

Is it legal for a job to withhold money that you worked for.
JA: Is this an hourly or salaried position? How many hours each week?
Customer: 20 hours a week paid at the end of the month but yet to be paid
JA: Where are you located? Wage-and-hour laws vary by location.
Customer: Arbroath
JA: Is there anything else the Lawyer should know before I connect you? Rest assured that they'll be able to help you.
Customer: I left the job because of the way they were handling payments made me feel unsafe working there and they refuse to pay me the hours I worked after I left as they will not talk to me.
Submitted: 6 days ago.
Category: Scots Law
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 6 days ago.
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.
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 6 days ago.

I understand your former employer is refusing to pay you. Have they provided any reason at all for this?

Expert:  Ben Jones replied 5 days ago.

Hello, I was wondering if you have had a chance to consider my initial query above please? I will need your response before I provide an accurate answer to your situation. Thank you and I look forward to hearing from you.

Expert:  Ben Jones replied 5 days ago.

Without the requested information, I can only provide you with some general information on this topic. Hopefully, it will still be useful to you. 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.

The employer’s actions will most likely amount to an unlawful deduction of wages, which is dealt with under the Employment Rights Act 1996.

Deductions of wages occur when an employer either makes actual deductions from an employee’s pay, or they stop their pay altogether. Under law, an employer can only do these in the following circumstances:

- If it is legally allowed (e.g. to deduct tax)

- If it is to recover an earlier overpayment of wages made by the employer (no prior consent is needed, but at the same time they should discuss how this may affect the employee, considering any outgoings they have to meet)

- If the contract specifically allows for the deductions to be made

- If the employee has given their explicit written consent, such as in a separate written agreement

If none of the above exemptions apply, the deductions will most likely be treated as being unlawful. To take the matter further, the employer should be contacted in writing, advised that their actions are treated as unlawful deduction from wages and/or breach of contract and request that they repay the amount in question within 7 days. State that if they fail to do so, legal proceedings could follow to recover what has been unlawfully deducted.

If the employer does not return the money as requested, the following options are available to take things further:

1. Employment Tribunal - the time limit to claim is only 3 months from the date the last of the deductions were made. Before making the claim, ACAS must be engaged to negotiate with the employer and try to resolve this without the need for legal action. The next steps to initiate this procedure are to contact them, either online by filling in the following form (https://tell.acas.org.uk/find-a-solution-to-your-employment-dispute), or by phone on 0300(###) ###-####

2. Sheriff’s Court – this is an alternative way to claim and the advantage is that the time limit is a much longer 5 years. It is therefore a useful alternative if the 3-month deadline for the Employment Tribunal has been missed.

For claims below £5,000 the Simple Procedure can be used. Please see here for further details:

https://www.scotcourts.gov.uk/taking-action/simple-procedure

For claims above £5,000, or more complex matters, the claim should be pursued through the Ordinary Cause. Please see here for further details:

https://www.scotcourts.gov.uk/taking-action/ordinary-cause

Ideally, by warning the employer that their actions are unlawful and that legal action is considered, they will be prompted to try and resolve this and return the money with the need to take things further.

Expert:  Ben Jones replied 5 days ago.

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.

Expert:  Ben Jones replied 5 days ago.

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.