Tick tock pay dock
We have a clocking-in machine at work and our employer refuses to pay us for shifts that we have forgotten to clock out for. Is this legal?
The action taken by your employer is called an unauthorised deduction of wages and deducting or stopping someone's pay like this is usually illegal. If this is the case, the person concerned can ultimately take a case to the Employment Tribunal to recover their pay.
There are some circumstances where an employer can stop wages, but they would need to have your prior agreement to do this. This agreement can be in your contract of employment or in the company handbook that lays out the main terms and conditions of your employment. Your employer could also get your agreement by asking you to agree to a change in your terms and conditions, or by writing to you and asking you to return the letter if you disagree.
If none of these apply then there has been an unauthorised deduction and you can start to get the money returned by writing a formal notice of grievance to the employer. This should state: why you are aggrieved; and that they have 28 days to reply. If you've heard nothing after this period you can apply to the Employment Tribunal for an ET1 form to make your claim for the return of the money. You should keep a copy of the letter you send to your employer and send it by recorded delivery.
We would strongly urge you to seek further advice from your local Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB), law centre or trade union, taking your contract and any other paperwork relating to your job with you. You may also want to talk to one of the employment advisors on the Acas helpline on 08457 474747.
Question answered by CAB