If you are owed unpaid wages, or unauthorised deductions have been made from your earnings, you can take your employer, or former employer, to an Employment Tribunal.
Unpaid Wages or Pay
There are two main reasons why an employer may owe an employee money. The first reason is where the correct wages haven’t been paid.
If you have found yourself in this situation, it may be that you have received some of your salary, but not the correct amount. Or it may be that you have not received your final pay after you leave the organisation.
The second reason why an employer may owe an employee money is if unauthorised deductions have been made from the employee’s wages.
There are certain authorised deductions that may be made from an employee’s wages, including:
- Tax and national insurance contributions
- Pension contributions
- Overpaid wages
- Deductions agreed with an employer – for example, unpaid annual leave.
But if your employer has deducted money from your wages which you believe to be unauthorised, you’ll want to know what you can do about it.
What You Can Do
If you believe that your employer owes you money, the first thing you should do is raise the issue directly with your employer. After all, it’s possible that it was a simple mistake that can be quickly rectified. It may also be that knowing you’re prepared to take action to obtain your money is incentive enough for your employer to resolve the matter.
You should set out your concerns in writing, either in an email or a letter. Either way, you should keep a copy for yourself just in case you need to use the correspondence as evidence later down the line. If you’re a member of a Trade Union, you may also want to contact them for advice.
If your employer still refuses to pay the money you are owed, your next option is take them to an Employment Tribunal. However, before you do this you will have to attempt ACAS Early Conciliation, whereby an independent third party tries to help you resolve the dispute.
Should ACAS Early Conciliation prove unsuccessful, you can proceed to an Employment Tribunal. At an Employment Tribunal, a Judge will decide whether or not your employer owes you money, and, if so, how much. Your employer will then be ordered to pay the money owed, together with interest if they don’t pay you promptly.
Time Limit for Making a Claim
Claims for unpaid wages or unauthorised deductions are subject to a time limit of three months minus one day. This time limit starts from the date on which you should have been paid the money in question by your employer. The clock will stop during ACAS Early Conciliation proceedings, but will begin again once they have come to an end. So if you’re thinking about making a claim against your employer, or your former employer, you need to act quickly.