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Problems with pay & wages

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If there’s a problem with your pay

Sometimes problems with your pay are innocent. Perhaps your manager has miskeyed your hours, or someone in payroll has made a mistake. Other times, the reasons are more insidious. You might think you’re being deliberately underpaid. You may even worry you’re being paid less than the minimum legal amount. If your employer is paying you incorrectly or deducting things they shouldn’t be, it’s time to take action.

You should be paid correctly for the work that you’ve done

Start by raising the issue with your employer. Don’t give up if they refuse to put things right, or if they fob you off. You should be paid the right money for the hours that you’ve worked. Your employment contract will explain how much you should be paid. You also have legal rights to a minimum wage, and statutory pay when you’re off sick, or on maternity, paternity or adoption leave.

If you can’t get the issue resolved, you may have no option but to bring an unlawful deduction of wages claim in the employment tribunal, which must be brought within three months less one day from when you should have been paid correctly (or from the last in a series of deductions). First, though, you need to contact Acas to go through early conciliation. You may also have a breach of contract claim. You cannot pursue a breach of contract claim in the tribunal whilst you are employed.  Such a claim must be brought within three months less one day from the end of your employment. Again, you would first need to go through early conciliation.  Alternatively, you can pursue a claim in the civil courts, even whilst you are still employed, within 6 years from the breach of contract.

How we can help

If you’re still working for your employer, our legal experts can advise you on what you should be paid and what you can do if you’re not being paid correctly. If you’re leaving your job, we’ll explain your entitlements and what you can do if you receive less than you were expecting. We can also check for any claims you could bring to an employment tribunal if your employer isn’t complying with the law or has breached your employment contract. We’ll:

  • listen to what’s happened
  • explain your rights, and your options
  • advise you on next steps 
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Meet your experts
Brendan Donohue Sq Brendan Donohue Brendan joined Which? in 2018 and is a member of the Employment Lawyers Association. He has over 20 years of experience advising on all aspects of employment law. See profile
Duncan Snook Sq Duncan Snook Duncan joined Which? Legal as an employment law specialist in May 2018. He has over 10 years of experience as an employment solicitor in private practice. See profile
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