The Employment Rights Act protects individuals from having unauthorised deductions made from their wages, including complete non-payment. This protection applies both to employees and to some self-employed workers.
There are however limited circumstances where an employer can deduct money from an employee's paycheck. These include:
Under the Equality Act 2010, a person has a disability if they have a physical or mental impairment that has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on their ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities. In order to be 'long-term', the adverse effect must have lasted (or be expected to last) for more than 12 months.
A serious mental health issue will often constitute a disability, whether it is a long-standing problem or something that has been diagnosed recently.
Some forms of mental illness, such as bipolar disorder, dementia, schizophrenia, depression obsessive-compulsive disorder and, are likely to be classed as a disability.
Stress is now one of the most common reasons for absence from work, accounting for around half of all sickness absences, but it may or may not be a disability, depending on the circumstances.
Under the Employment Rights Act 1996, "wages" are any sums payable to the worker by his employer in connection with his employment. This can include:
Wages do not include non-contractual payment in lieu of notice, advances of wages, expenses, employer's pension contribution, compensation or redundancy payment.
There is extra protection to those employed in retail work that make it unlawful for an employer to deduct more than 10 per cent from the gross amount of any payment of wages if the deduction is made because of cash shortages or stock deficiencies.
The key issues for employers to bear in mind when dealing with unlawful deductions from wages are that:
If an employee believes sums have been deducted from their wages unlawfully, they can bring their claim at an Employment Tribunal. The employer may be ordered by the Tribunal to:
If, as an employer, you are looking to make any deductions from an employee's salary, you should carefully check their contract of employment to ensure that it contains a provision permitting you to do so. If your employment contract omits such a clause, you may wish to consider updating your contracts to bring it in line with the Employment Rights Act.
At Pinney Talfourd, we would be happy for you to forward to us your company's employment contracts if you are unsure of whether they are in line with the requirements of the Employment Rights Act and we can advise you for accordingly. We have an experienced and dedicated team of specialist employment lawyers based in offices across Essex and London who have advised employers upon how to best tackle mental health issues at work.
We have late night and Saturday appointments available and offer a free initial telephone consultation for all new employment law enquiries. You can book your free initial employment consultation using our online booking form or by calling your local office. This telephone appointment will allow you to explain the situation with an expert lawyer and discuss the best steps to minimise stress and delays.