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Payslips via email, is this legal??


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Our mother company has decided that all payroll are to be handled by a third party and this third party do not give you a payslip, instead they want an email address from everyone so that they can email our payslips instead, is this legal?? Email isnt exactly a safe way to pass around confidential information, and not everyone who works for us has the internet. We are being told that this is the only way and that we must create email addresses if we havent already got one, they also insist that everyone has access to emails? can someone advise if this is OK... many thanks

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They have to provide you with an itemised statement of pay at time of payment.

 

They cannot insist that you have email (what happens if you dont own a computer, or have internet connection will they provide facility?)

 

My feeling is that this is NOT ok.

 

I would be interested in sidewinder or che's thoughts on this.

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Hi Supasta

 

Interesting. Let's go back to basics. The ERA 1996, s.8 states:

 

8 Itemised pay statement

 

(1) An employee has the right to be given by his employer, at or before the time at which any payment of wages or salary is made to him, a written itemised pay statement.

(2) The statement shall contain particulars of—

(a) the gross amount of the wages or salary,

(b) the amounts of any variable, and (subject to section 9) any fixed, deductions from that gross amount and the purposes for which they are made,

© the net amount of wages or salary payable, and

(d) where different parts of the net amount are paid in different ways, the amount and method of payment of each part-payment.

 

 

Obviously the crucial words here are written and given. Is an e-mail written, and when is given?

 

 

The only case I could find was COALES (appellant) v. JOHN WOOD & CO (SOLICITORS) 1986, which confirmed the right was ABSOLUTE, but didn't examine the definition of written, and obviously pre-dates the internet explosion.

 

 

I would write to the company, as it is their obligation not the 3rd party's, reminding them that you have an ABSOLUTE right to an itemised payslip.

 

 

 

As the Doc says - what do they propose to do with those employees who do not have e-mail.

 

 

Che

Edited by elche
Nice point rastinan

...................................................................... [FONT=Comic Sans MS]Please post on a thread before sending a PM. My opinion's are not expressed as agent or representative of The Consumer Action Group. Always seek professional advice from a qualified legal adviser before acting. If I have helped you please feel free to click on the black star.[/FONT] [FONT=Comic Sans MS] I am sorry that work means I don't get into the Employment Forum as often as I would like these days, but nonetheless I'll try to pop in when I can.[/FONT] [FONT=Arial Black][FONT=Comic Sans MS][COLOR=Red]'Venceremos' :wink:[/COLOR][/FONT][/FONT]

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They can put them online to you if you have an email address at work, and it is sent via a secure server, to an email address that only you can have access to, however if it is a private email address this raises doubt with me as how can they guarantee that the only possible recipient is the employee for whom the payslip is intended?

 

Again I echo the previous posts re they cannot force an employee to get a private email address. They could argue that you can access at a library etc but the problem with that is that many of these public computers have a "block" on so that you cannot delete the history stored therefore any Tom Dick or Harry that knows a thing or two about computers could end up having access to your sensitive and private data. In addition, if you were to print it at a library or other public PC, normally in these establishments there is ONE printer, and as sods law would have it, the printer is usually a good walk away from the computers. Any ID theif could lay his or her mitts on it before you get to the printer.

 

It is their responsibility to ensure that you receive a payslip and their responsibility to ensure that any payslip issued to you carries no risk of the data being picked up by a third party until it reaches you. This is why so many payslips are either sent to work email addresses, on a work intranet system where only the employee can access his or her own payslip or physically handed out in the workplace.

 

If you have no private internet and cannot therefore guarantee that the data will be protected I don't see how they can enforce this.

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I think that the problem here is that HMRC do support the use of electronic payslips. As per their website in regards to the issuing of P60's

 

"Even if you have been giving your employees electronic payslips, you must give your employees a paper form P60 at the end of the tax year. You must not, by law, give them P60 details electronically for them to print off." (See Guide to filing PAYE forms online and paying electronically, paragraph 6.15, at www.hmrc.gov.uk/helpsheets/mp2.pdf)

 

The problem as I see it however, is not just if an email is seen as a written form of payslip, but as the others have stated it has to be given to an employee. If the employee doesn't know or cant access it due to it being sent in an email, then they could argue that it hasnt been given to them. Also, if their only method of accessing these payslips is through a work computer, what happens when they are either off sick or on holidays, etc?

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The problem as I see it however, is not just if an email is seen as a written form of payslip, but as the others have stated it has to be given to an employee.

 

Nice point, I suppose it could be relevant to look at some of the case law re formation of contracts etc as regards when e-mails are deemed received.

 

Undoubtedly, it will also be relevant,as you point out, to take into account HMRC guidance to employers regarding electronic payslips etc.

 

I always find HMRC a law unto themselves, certainly capable of misinterpreting legislation.

 

I'm not for one minute suggesting they are wrong, merely making the point, that if this were challenged, they wouldn't be the ultimate arbiters of whether this was legal or not.

 

On a practical level, how much does it really cost to print a payslip and get department heads to hand them out?

 

Is the risk of getting sued by employee's who don't have e-mail worth it?

 

What about the risk of being sued by employee's whose data goes missing because it is sent via a non-secure e-mail?

 

If I were the employer, I don't think I would bother; but I suppose if you save 20p on each employee, and employ 10,000 of them, then it mounts up :smile:

 

Che

...................................................................... [FONT=Comic Sans MS]Please post on a thread before sending a PM. My opinion's are not expressed as agent or representative of The Consumer Action Group. Always seek professional advice from a qualified legal adviser before acting. If I have helped you please feel free to click on the black star.[/FONT] [FONT=Comic Sans MS] I am sorry that work means I don't get into the Employment Forum as often as I would like these days, but nonetheless I'll try to pop in when I can.[/FONT] [FONT=Arial Black][FONT=Comic Sans MS][COLOR=Red]'Venceremos' :wink:[/COLOR][/FONT][/FONT]

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Thanks for all your advice, it is an interesting one isn't it! I have never heard of anyone receiving payslips via email, it just doesn't seem right to me. We are just a relatively small firm who were bought out by a massive firm. Up until now they have left us to do our own thing but a few weeks ago they said they were outsourcing there entire payroll to a third party including ours. Our managing director and accounts manager were up in arms arguing that we want to keep it in house and that not everyone has access to internet etc but they were basically told they had no choice and to stop being stupid as everyone has access?? which they dont and like you say it is just going to be sent to private email addresses which isn't secure at all. Should we take our complaints above our director straight to the company who took over us, as im not sure what he could do now anyway as its out of his hands??

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