By: Simon B
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Working hard for the money
You might have accountability to work for your cash; to do the job to the perfect of your abilities; to make use of the abilities your employer has employed you for, and to work competently and safely. Your employer ought to be capable to trust that should you say you’re off sick, you’re genuinely ailing and never simply malingering. In return, your employer ought to pay you the wage agreed as a part of your contract. This works on trust and it is a two-way system between you and your employer. At the end of the day, it’s working hard for the money.
Getting a good day’s pay
The main legislation that covers pay is the National Minimum Wage legislation. Under this law, employees are entitled to be paid at least the minimum wage unless they’re workers living as part of a family or school children.
|Wage band||Charges from 1 April 2019|
|25 and over||£8.21|
|21 to 24||£7.70|
|18 to 20||£6.15|
If you aren’t paid at least the minimum wage, you can make a claim against your employer in the civil courts or an employment tribunal. If your employer sacks you for claiming your right to the minimum wage, the dismissal is automatically unfair, and you can claim that at an employment tribunal, too. Under the National Minimum Wage, on top of your hourly pay, you’re entitled to tips given to you directly by customers, allowances, expenses and travel costs while travelling on the job, extra wages from overtime and shift work, and benefits in kind, such as the use of the company car, fuels, or meals. Bonuses and commissions, incentive payments, and performance-related pay can count toward your minimum wage. If you live in accommodation provided by your employer, £4.15 a day of the value of that accommodation counts toward the minimum wage.
Deductions out of your wages
Out of your wages, the employer has to deduct income tax and national insurance. (See the section ‘Paying Tax and National Insurance,’ later in this blog.) You may also have other deductions, such as contributions to your company’s pension scheme if it provides one (see ‘Paying into a Pension,’ later in this chapter), deductions for repayment of your student loan if you’re earning enough (go to the HMRC Web site at www.hmrc.gov.uk for information), or union subscriptions if you’re a union member. Your boss should let you know about any deductions to be made from your pay and get your agreement. With deductions that are regular and the same every month, your employer can give you an annual notice of what the deductions will be. Your employer doesn’t need your permission to make other deductions, such as those the law says has to be made.
If a court orders that you must repay a debt or make payments to the Child Support Agency for child support through an attachment of earnings order, the employer has to comply.
If you work in the retail trade and a shortfall occurs in the till or in stock, the company can take the money back from your wages, but they must get your agreement or have a clause in your contract that says that should the situation arise, that’s what they’ll do.
If you’ve been overpaid, then your employer can usually reclaim that money from you through your wages. You may be able to argue that you couldn’t have been expected to know that you’d been overpaid and that because of the extra money, you had put yourself in such a financial position that having to repay the money would cause you hardship. If you do find yourself in that position, get advice from the CAB.
If your company usually pays you on the 15th of the month, they’ll be in breach of contract if they pay you a few days late. But you can’t do much about it if you have no quantifiable loss. Another important piece of legislation relating to pay is the Equal Pay Act of 1970. It was brought in to ensure that women and men are paid the same for like work. The rules are fairly complicated, and if you think that you’re being paid less than a male or female colleague who does basically the same job and you want advice, talk to the Equal Opportunities Commission (0845-601- 5901 or www.eoc.org.uk).
Bear in mind, of course, that employers are within their rights to increase people’s pay over time or to pay better-qualified people more, so some people doing similar jobs are being paid more because they’re better qualified. If you work part-time, the Part-Time Workers Regulations also protect you. You must not be treated less favourably than full-time workers just because you work fewer hours. That law means that you’re entitled to the same hourly rate of pay and have the same rights to holiday and overtime pay and all the other rights in your contract as someone doing the same job on a full-time basis.