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I've not Been Paid my Wages, What Can I do About it?

Getting Money from an Employer that is Witholding Pay

Sometimes an employer might withhold some or all of your pay.

The first thing you should do is to check there isn't a reason for them holding back that money. There might be good reasons why they've held back some of the money you think you're owed, and these will differ depending on whether they've employed you through their payroll or as a contractor. Your options for recovering unpaid wages will also be different for each of these two situations.

If you were Employed Through Payroll

When you are a direct employee of a company, there are some deduction employers must take such as National Insurance (NI), repayment of Student Loans, pensions, and Deductions against a court order. There are other things that might mean the paypacket is less than you were expecting, for example unpaid holiday pay, Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) and Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP).

If you think your employer has withheld money that you are entitled to, then firstly you should speak to them directly to try and resolve the matter.

  • Check your itemised payslip which will show how your pay has been made up and what deductions have been applied. Your employer should issue a payslip, so request one if your employer did not provide one already.
  • If talking to your employer does not work, you should raise a written grievance, detailing your complaint. Sign and date your letter and keep a copy. You should do this as soon as possible after your employer has withheld your pay.
  • IIf you need to take matters further, you can make a claim to an employment tribunal. More information regarding how to deal with this process can be found on the Citizens Advice Website.

If you Worked as a Contractor of Freelancer

If you worked as a subcontractor in the construction industry and your payment is less than expected then one explanation might be that your employer has made a deduction against the CIS (Construction Industry Scheme). These deductions count as advance payments towards the subcontractorís tax and National Insurance. Contractors must register for the scheme whilst Subcontractors donít have to, but those that donít have deductions taken from their payments at a higher rate.

If you have not been paid or have had other deductions taken from your payment then we suggest the following actions:

  • Check your facts. Before speaking to the company check your contract to see what the agreed rate of payment / payments terms were. No work should have been carried out without an agreement.
  • Speak to the Company to see what the situation is. Have they received the invoice, have you completed all the works to their satisfaction, is there a dispute over the invoice?
  • If the works related to the Construction sector have they deducted a retention? Again check your contract to see if this was agreed.

If, after trying the suggestions above, you are still owed money then you could appoint a third party debt collection service to help resolve the matter. Quite often third party intervention is all it takes to resolve outstanding matters and help settle disputes.

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