Employment law solicitors for work pay issues and bonus disputes

Our employment solicitors can help with pay issues, including unpaid wages, bonus disputes, wage deductions, and holiday pay disputes.

If you have a dispute with your employer about pay or an unpaid bonus, our employment law solicitors can provide you with expert legal advice on how to get your employer to pay you for the work you have done.

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Our fixed fees for advising employees on unpaid wages start from £240 (including VAT). For this fee we will review your documents, provide you with advice on your potential claim and draft a grievance on your behalf. Once we have provided you with a written, fixed fee quote for the agreed work to be done, that price will not change unless the original information we are given is shown to be incorrect or circumstances change.

Unlike many employment law solicitors we only represent employees. This means we understand the laws relating to employee legal rights in intricate detail. We can resolve most employee legal issues quickly, saving time, money and stress.

Does your employer owe you unpaid wages?

The payment of wages is a fundamental part of your employment contract and this can include normal wages, bonus payments, commission and holiday pay.

Unless it is specifically stated in the employment contract, an employer in England or Wales cannot deduct wages from a worker, unless there has been an overpayment, and even then, special rules apply.

There are 2 main reasons that an employer may owe an employee unpaid wages:

  1. if the correct wages have not been paid
  2. if the employer has deducted money from an employee’s pay

An employer is generally allowed to deduct the following from pay:

  • tax and national insurance
  • pension
  • an overpayment of wages
  • deductions agreed by the employee

If your employer refuses to pay you correctly, you should immediately raise the issue informally with your employer. If you are unable to resolve the issue informally within a week or two then you should then consider lodging a grievance with your employer. Do not delay.

Check if your employer has a workplace grievance procedure. If they don't, ACAS (Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service) provides practical guidance on what you should do when lodging a grievance.

This includes:

  • letting the employer know the nature of the grievance
  • holding a meeting with the employee to discuss the grievance
  • allowing the employee to be accompanied at the meeting
  • deciding an appropriate action
  • allowing the employee to take the grievance further, such as an appeal, if the issue is not resolved

If you need advice on your potential wages claim, we offer a fixed fee service for reviewing your documents, providing advice and drafting a grievance.

Time limits are crucial. To pursue a tribunal wages claim, you must commence early conciliation (EC) with ACAS within three months less one day of the last deduction. Or, if there is more than one deduction, within three months less one day of the last in the series of deductions. Once early conciliation has ended, you will have a limited time in which to lodge a tribunal claim and you should seek employment law advice immediately.

Alternatively, if the last deduction from your pay was over three months ago and no action has been taken, you can no longer make a claim in the employment tribunal. You may make a claim in the county court, but court fees will apply. Nevertheless, you should still consider lodging a grievance with your employer and make attempts to resolve the issues within the workplace.

Your help made a big difference to my ability to stand my ground with my employers. Thank you. (Miss A., Hertfordshire)

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Bonus payment disputes

Bonus schemes are intended to ensure that employees focus their efforts on key objectives of their employer's business.

Bonus schemes normally make it clear whether the bonus entitlement is discretionary or contractual. Discretionary bonus schemes usually give a contractual right to be considered for a bonus, but not necessarily to actually receive one. Bonus entitlement may sometimes be implied on the basis of custom and practice.

Bonus payments are usually linked to the performance of an individual employee, a team, or the entire business. Performance is usually measured by reference to targets, such as sales targets. Bonus payments may also be linked to other factors such as attendance levels, customer satisfaction, or health and safety issues.

Bonus schemes are notoriously vulnerable to being changed without consent (especially for sales staff). However, the general law is, unless the payment of bonuses is a discretionary arrangement, your employer must seek your consent before making any changes.

Entitlement to holiday pay in England and Wales

The entitlement to holiday pay is a statutory right under the Working Time Regulations 1998. This law entitles full time workers to 28 paid days annual leave per year (equivalent to 5.6 weeks) and part-time workers are entitled to a pro-rata amount. An employer can, however, choose to offer more annual leave than this legal minimum.

If your employer has failed to pay your holiday pay, deducted your wages after you have taken annual leave, or refused to allow you to take paid leave, then our expert Holiday Pay Solicitors can help you.

We offer legal advice without jargon and we'll take a practical approach to resolving your holiday pay claim, while we work hard to preserve the existing relationship between you and your employer.

At Co-op Legal Services, our holiday pay solicitors only represent employees and we offer fixed fees for work pay and bonus dispute claims. Once we have provided you with a written quote for the agreed work, that price will not change unless the original information we are given is shown to be incorrect or circumstances change.

Is there a statutory right to take bank holidays off work?

You do not have a statutory right to take bank holidays or public holidays off work, with or without pay. This will depend on what is written in your employment contract.

Your employment contract may say that you have the right to statutory holidays or it may not say anything about contractual holidays or statutory holidays. In these cases, your employer can:

  • ask you to work bank or public holidays
  • give you bank and public holidays off without paying you for them. In this case, you won't lose your right to take your full statutory holiday allowance of 28 days (pro-rated for part time workers) at some other point
  • give you bank and public holidays off and pay you for them but ask you to count them towards your statutory holiday entitlement
  • do a combination of all of these

Is overtime included in holiday pay calculations?

Yes. In November 2014, the Employment Appeal Tribunal ruled that overtime must be calculated into holiday pay rates.

Can I make a holiday pay claim?

There are three situations where an employee can bring a holiday pay claim under the Working Time Regulations 1998. They are:

  • your employer breached your rights under the regulations
  • you have suffered a detriment (a cause of harm or damage)
  • you have been dismissed

In each situation a worker has a right to compensation.

About Co-op Legal Services

Co-op Legal Services has over 600 staff working in different businesses with offices in Manchester, Bristol, Stratford-upon-Avon, Sheffield and London.

As part of the Co-op Group, our values of openness, honesty, social responsibility and caring for others are core to the service we provide.

Need help with an employment claim?