Almost all workers in the UK are entitled to be paid National Minimum Wage. But what should you do if you are being underpaid by your employer?
Employees who suspect they are being underpaid by their employer have a right to see their employer’s National Minimum Wage records. If you would prefer to investigate the case confidentially, you can have HM Revenue and Customs investigate your concerns on your behalf or you can contact the Pay and Work Rights Helpline for advice.
Have You Correctly Calculated Your Pay?
Before you take any action against your employer for withholding pay that you are legally entitled to, make sure that you have calculated your pay correctly. Ask your employer for a written document that sets forth how your pay is calculated. If you still believe that you have been underpaid, speak to your employer. It is possible that your employer has made a genuine mistake.
Check Your Employer’s National Minimum Wage Records
If your employer has not been able to settle the matter, you are entitled to see their pay records. In order to access your employer’s National Minimum Wage records, you must apply in writing. Your employer has an obligation to show you their pay records within 14 days, or at a time that is convenient. When you view the records, you can make copies for your own personal record, if you so wish.
Lodging a Complaint
You can lodge a complaint, or call and ask the Pay and Work Rights Helpline to lodge a complaint, on your behalf if you have not been paid the National Minimum Wage. The complaint will be investigated and if they rule in your favour, your employer will be ordered to pay you what you are owed. According to Directgov, since 6 April 2009, you are entitled to receive arrears at the current National Minimum Wage rate.
Taking Legal Action
If your employer refuses to let you access their pay records, you have the right to complain to an Employment Tribunal. Employees who win their case at an Employment Tribunal will be entitled to receive an amount that is equal to 80 times the hourly rate of the National Minimum Wage in force when the order is made.
However, if your employer still refuses to pay, HM Revenue and Customs can bring a case to court to recover money you are owed. If your employment has ended, you can also file your own case for unlawful deductions from your wages or for a breach of contract through a civil court. You also have a case for unlawful dismissal if your employment ended as a result of a refusal on your employer’s part to pay you what you were owed.
Employees who believe that they have been underpaid should ensure that they have correctly calculated their pay before they take any further action. Speak to your employer and ask to see their National Minimum Wage record to check to see if you have been underpaid. If your employer has been unlawfully withholding pay that you are legally entitled to, you have a right to lodge a legal complaint and take your employer to court to recover what you are owed.
Directgov, Help getting paid the National Minimum Wage.