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Two weeks salary kept as 'deposit'

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I'm British and my husband is Moroccan. He has been living with me in the UK for two years and working in restaurants (which was his trade back in Morocco) and he is fully entitled to work in the UK with his spouse visa.


He recently started a new permanent job two weeks ago with a restaurant in central London. It's a medium sized popular restaurant. He's been slogging away and doing lots of extra hours to make up for the deficit in his account from being out of work, BUT he was told last night that he wouldn't receive his pay for these first two weeks as it is being kept as a deposit. He wasn't told anything like that before yesterday, he certainly wouldn't have put in all those extra hours!!


Apparently the deposit is for damages or anything that goes wrong when he leaves, and his colleagues tell him that the same thing happened to them.


I'm really angry as this seems really unfair, and I wonder if he would really get it back or they would hold on to it. He's paid hourly and his hours are supposed to be 5pm - 3am (10 hours), but he has sometimes finished at 8am when asked if anyone could stay on as he wanted the money, came home to sleep for a few hours before getting up to go back to work. He's supposed to have two days off a week but has been asked to go in so only had one. He has been working so hard and he really doesn't deserve to be screwed around.


He did sign a contract - he doesn't bother reading everything and I didn't get a chance to read it thoroughly before he handed it in. Funnily enough they didn't give him a copy so I've asked him to get a copy of it today. I've also told him to ask if the deposit is mentioned in the contract (there was something about he has to pay for damages, but I don't recall anything about a deposit) and to say that he will be seeking legal advice on the matter.


Is this potentially allowed?? My husband is fluent in French but his English isn't quite fluent, I know that I wouldn't know where to start if I was in a different country speaking a different language, so I want to help him find the right advice as much as I can.


Many thanks



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Think your right honeybee, thread moved to Employment Forum.





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Hello and welcome to the forum. I don't know the answer to your question myself, but I'm sure people here will. You could also have a look at the ACAS and directgov websites for information. ACAS also have a confidential helpline that you could ring.


For what it's worth, I think the practice sounds odd, but I have no specific knowledge. I hope we can help you both.


My best, HB

Illegitimi non carborundum




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You need to examine the contract. It does sound like they are taking advantage of him. Any good employer would serve a copy of the contract on the employee with the terms and conditions. Even if this "deposit" was legally part of the conditions I doubt if the overtime would also be past of it. What amount of damage could he get up to that requires 2 weeks wages? Apart from this obvious hitch does your husband like the job and his employer or is he getting bad vibes now that he has been there for a while?

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He doesn't like it as much as at other restaurants. All the restaurants he's worked at have provided food, but here the staff bring their own packed lunches or pay to eat. Also the way they are asking him to do extra hours is inconsiderate e.g. finish work at 8am and come back in 7 hours later. And he says that the management doesn't split the service charge or tips correctly. It doesn't sound like they take care of the staff and he's definitely on the bad vibes side.


He has asked for a copy of the contract, and I've told him to let them know he will be looking into legal advice.


Thanks for your help, I will post any updates...

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Several things that you need to look at. As stated above, to hold any form of deposit must be covered by a contractual term. Failure to do so in this manner would almost certainly be an Unlawful Deduction. This may also be of interest in terms of the National Minimum Wage, for he has effectively been stopped below what he should legally be paid for a week's work. The third point is that whilst overtime can certainly be asked of an employee, there are important entitlements to breaks and rest periods, and it would seem from your original post that your husband may well be not allowed to take adequate rest periods between shifts.


Have a search for the Working Time Directive, Rest Periods and Breaks, together with the National Minimum Wage laws. If you do manage to get a copy of the contract, and the 'deposit' is not mentioned, then also consider Unlawful Deductions (Section 13 of the Employment Rights Act 1996).

Any advice given is done so on the assumption that recipients will also take professional advice where appropriate.






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