Pay and benefits


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Pay and benefits

My employer has accidentally been overpaying my salary without me realising. Can this be reclaimed?

Yes, employers have a statutory entitlement to recover an accidental overpayment of wages. This is usually by deducting the overpayment from your future salary, where the overpayment is discovered relatively quickly.

However the position is more complex if you have been received overpayments for a long period of time (perhaps some many months or longer). If you genuinely believed you were entitled to the payments and you have spent it, you may be able to raise a defence against repayment. A lot will depend on the individual facts of each case.

Does it make any difference to an over payment of wages if I have already left employment?

If you have already left employment, then clearly a deduction from future salary payments can’t be made. Your employer will doubtless try to agree a repayment timetable with you, and if this cannot be achieved, they could issue legal proceedings for recovery in the County Court. You would still have the same defence referred to above, namely that you have changed your position by already spending the funds, and so it would be inequitable for your ex-employer to seek recovery.

What is the present National Minimum Wage?

Workers aged 25 and over are entitled to £8.21 per hour (this is referred to the “national living wage rate”). Workers aged 21 or over but under 25 are entitled to £7.70 per hour. Workers aged 18 or over but under 21 are entitled to £6.15 per hour. Workers under 18 who are no longer of compulsory school age are entitled to £4.35 per hour. These rates are effective from 1st April 2019.

Am I entitled to receive a pay rise?

The short answer is no. There is no statutory requirement on an employer to give their employees an annual pay rise. In fact, your employer is well within their right to maintain your salary at the same level indefinitely, as long as you are being paid over National Minimum Wage (see above).

If you do regularly receive a pay rise, this may be “across the board” where all employees get the same, or it could be based on individual performances (for example if you have reached specific targets previously set).

Am I entitled to be paid extra for working on a Bank Holiday?

There is no statutory right to extra pay, for example time and a half or double time. Any right to extra pay for working on a Bank Holiday will depend on the terms contained in your contract of employment. It may also be that your employer has a “custom and practice” of paying an extra salary for the Bank holiday period, in which case this may become a contractual entitlement.

Can my employer cut my pay without my consent?

You may decide to agree to such temporary or permanent cut in your pay if it is clear that cuts are required, and that you may be made redundant if you don’t consent.

If you do not agree to a cut in pay, your employer could decide to dismiss you, and then re-engage you on new contract with a lower rate of pay. In such circumstances, your employer should give the correct contractual notice of dismissal after full and genuine consultation about the need for changes. You should then be immediately re-engaged after the expiry of your notice.

This is a risky step for an employer, and is usually carried out where there are large scale pay cuts to be made. The termination of your original contract will be a dismissal, and you could challenge this as being unfair.  Your employer will undoubtedly rely on “some other substantial reason”  which is one of the potentially fair reason for dismissal. The reason for making the change and the consultation process will then be factors in determining the fairness of the dismissal.

If your employer intends to dismiss and re-engage 20 or more employees, it must follow the statutory consultation procedures for collective redundancies.

Can my employer change my pay date?

No, they should not do this without your consent, otherwise it would be treated as a breach of contract. This may also give you the right to claim constructive dismissal.

Usually, you employer would only wish to make changes to the pay date if there are sound business reasons for doing so, and it affects a large workforce. Your employer would usually, in these circumstances, commence a consultation process in the hope that all concerned will agree to the change. If you or some of your colleagues still refuse to agree to the change, your employer may proceed to dismiss you with full notice and at the same time offer to re-employ you immediately on the revised terms. If your employer has acted reasonably, they may avoid a breach of contract or unfair dismissal claim should you refuse the offer of re-engagement.

What is my holiday pay entitlement?

What is my redundancy pay entitlement?

We are a leading firm of employment law solicitors, acting for employees and senior executives in the City and throughout the UK. For more information on pay and benefits and a free consultation, please get in contact on 020 7100 5256 and ask to speak to Philip Landau or any member of the employment team, or email us.

 

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