Pay and benefits

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We are specialist UK employment lawyers, and have vast experience about your rights to pay and benefits. We only act for employees and senior executives with very high success rates. We are practically the only law firm in the UK which specialises in this area. Please feel free to contact us or call 020 7100 5256

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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 23 and over are entitled to £9.50 per hour (known as the “national living wage rate”).

For those workers under 23, the following minimum rates apply (known as the “National Minimum Wage”)

  • Age 21-22  £9.18 per hour
  • Age 18-20  £6.83 per hour
  • Age 16-17  £4.81 per hour

The Apprentice Rate is £4.81 per hour

These rates are effective from 6th April 2022.

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.

My employer has underpaid me, what should I do?

If think you have not been paid the correct salary, the first thing you should do is speak to your employer. There may be an explanation, such as your tax code changing, or an increase in pension contributions. There may also have been an error with payroll that your employer has not picked up on, which can be quickly resolved once you alert your employer of the problem.

If, however, after raising the issue (and lodging a grievance) it is clear that your employer is refusing or trying to avoid paying you for work that you have completed, then you may be able to bring a claim for unlawful deduction of wages.

Am I entitled to be paid for overtime?

Overtime is any time you work beyond your normal fixed working hours. Whether or not you are entitled to additional payment for overtime generally depends what your employment contract says.

Most employees who have a fixed annual salary will not be entitled to payment for overtime worked beyond their usual weekly hours, except in rare cases where the employment contract specifies. The exception to this is if the overtime you are working means that you will be paid below the National Minimum Wage unless your employer pays you extra for the additional hours worked.

If you are paid per hour, then it is likely you will be entitled to payment for every hour worked, regardless of whether those hours are in addition to your regular hours. You should, however, always check your employment contract.

If your employer has agreed to pay you for overtime, it is up to your employer to decide whether this is paid at the usual hourly rate, or a higher rate such as time and a half.

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

There is no legal right to a higher rate of pay for working on a Sunday compared to any other day of the week. However, some employers choose to offer extra pay for working on a Sunday.

Any right to extra pay for working on a Sunday should be in your employment contract. If there is no clause in your contract but your employer regularly pays extra for working on a Sunday, then you may have acquired a contractual right to extra pay via ‘custom and practice’.

It is more common for employers to offer higher pay for Sunday working in certain industries. For example, shop and betting shop workers have the right to opt out of working on Sundays, so employers might offer extra pay for Sunday working to incentivise retail workers not to opt out.

What is my sick pay entitlement?

What is my maternity/paternity pay entitlement?

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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