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Unlawful deduction of wages


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I am currently in the middle of an issue with my current employer.

 

My contract/policy states I am entitled to full company sick pay for upto 4 weeks, unless I am off sick 3 or more times in 3 months for 1 or 2 days at a time; or off sick more than 5 times in a year. The sickness year refreshes in February. I am also entitled to 8 days bank holiday as per contract.

 

On Bank Holiday Monday 6th May, I sustained an injury requiring me to visit A&E. I had damaged my foot, and was advised by the doctor not to drive or walk too much on it for 2-3 days, and to self certificate until I was fit to return to work.

 

I informed my manager on the Tuesday morning that I would not be able to attend work due to this injury. His reply was that this occasion would be unpaid, as the injury had occurred outside of work.

When I asked why this was the case - as company sick pay has never been dependent on how and where you sustained an injury or illness - I was told the company was using its discretion to not pay me. They also said I would not be paid for the Bank Holiday unless I could provide a fit note from a Dr.

 

I was told we could discuss this further upon my return to work.

 

When I returned to work, I had my first ever return to work interview. I was told that I would not be paid for the sickness absence because the manager on site had a 'suspicion' I had been off sick too much. When i argued against this case, I was then told it was because HR didnt want to pay me.

When I argued against this excuse by quoting the policy/handbook, I was told that I was 'probably right' and would be paid unless HR said otherwise as the site management were quite insistent on me not been paid. My manager then proceeded through the list of exclusions in the policy trying to find a reason not to pay me. ie "no I dont think we could use that reason".

 

A few days later, I received a response from the discussion my manager had with HR. I was told the policy was wrong, and I was only entitled to 3 periods of absence within any 12 month period - not between Feb - Feb as per the policy. I asked to see this policy, as the policy I was looking at was different.

 

A few days later I was presented with a slip of paper that I signed when I started with the company saying I agreed to the sickness policy. I was told this was proof that I should not be paid. I asked for a copy of this so called policy as I was not provided with a copy. Whilst waiting for this to be provided, I phoned central HR and asked for a copy of the sickness policy which applies specifically to me. The one they sent me states that I am entitled to 5 occurances of sick between Feb - Feb.

 

My manager then sent me a policy dating back to 2008 saying I was entitled to 3 occurances.

 

When I argued that the most recent policy applied to me, I was threatened with a disciplinary for alleged poor performance.

 

I sought advice from my home insurance legal advice helpline, and they told me that as my contract says I am entitled to 8 days bank holiday, they have to pay me whether I was off sick or not.

 

Also, as my contract states I receive full sick pay, I have a contractual right to receive this.

 

I passed this onto my manager, and was told that it would be reviewed, and I would have an update when possible. This was last week.

 

On Friday, I received my payslip and 4 days pay was taken from my wages. This consisted of the Bank Holiday & also the 3 days I had off sick due to the injury.

 

I asked my manager why this had happened, as it was still under discussion and he said it should not have been deducted and he would arrange for it to be reimbursed within the next day or two.

 

Today I received a letter handed to me saying I would not be paid for the bank holiday or the 3 days off sick.

 

It stated that the 3 days off sick - whilst the company do offer pay for sickness, there is no contractual right to recceive as it is at management discretion.

I was told the policy had been updated since the 2008 version, but the trigger points remained the same (they dont!)

I was told there was a pattern in my absence (there isnt)

And that I hadnt followed the correct reporting procedure (I have always emailed/text and offered to ring, but manager has always previously said the text/email was OK)

 

Ever since I first reported my sickness, the reason for with-holding pay has changed a countless number of times. It seems that the company are using whatever means necessary to not pay me for these dates, and have subsequently removed the 4 days pay from my wages.

 

Please could somebody advise me of the next steps to take? I have looked online and think I have grounds for unlawful deduction of wages. I have requested a formal grievance meeting regarding the entire situation, but the 4 days pay which has been with-held needs sorting ASAP otherwise I am going to be unable to pay bills.

 

EDIT - also my policy states my manager MUST hold a return to work interview - something which has never happened. I have also never been asked to complete a sickness form, and as such my manager is unable to provide me with a list of my absence and reasons for absence. From my memory, I have been off twice since January - but my manager is disputing this but still cant provide me with dates.

 

Thanks

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suggest you speak to ACAS, they give good advice on the phone.

Do you belong to a union?

Grievance meeting right step and should be heard by people not in your direct line of management.

policies are often changed during a period of employment however you should have a copy of these changes when introduced.

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I also forgot to mention, in my recent review - I was told nobody within my team (multi site) liked me and nobody on the site I work at liked me. I was the only person doing my job at the time on this site. In the past 4 weeks a new person has been recruited, and I know that this new person has been asked to report back anything I have not done correctly, or anything I have done that could be done better.

 

I am expected to be training this person, while he is reporting back on my weaknesses.

 

I dont belong to a union - my policy states the company do not recognise a union!

 

Im fine with the policies being changed, as the newer policy goes in my favour!

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Thanks for replies so far. I spoke to ACAS and also my home insurance legal advice helpline.

 

Both have said I have a case for unlawful deduction of wages, and next step was to give "notice of further action" giving my employers notice of 7/14 days before I take things further to a tribunal or anything else ACAS may suggest (guessing there arbitration service).

 

The 7 days notice I gave them is due to pass tomorrow, and I still have not had the deducted pay refunded despite showing in black and white that I am correct, I have had the reasons for withholding sick pay changed again for the 8th time.

 

I have also requested a formal grievance hearing, with a manager other than my immediate line manager due to the conflict of interest.

 

This has been scheduled for Thursday am.

 

My question is, as my 7 days notice will expire before the Grievance - and so far I have had no suggestion of the pay been refunded - should I proceed with next steps before the Grievance meeting?

 

If so, what next steps would be best?

 

Also - at my Grievance I am going to be asking for some form of goodwill gesture for the undue stress etc this has caused me. I have taken annual leave as realistically the company have made it impossible for me to take anymore time off sick for work related stress or such. I am therefore going to ask for a couple of days additional leave once I am proved correct.

 

Also credit card interest, and any bank charges - although I have been emptying my holiday savings to try and cover everything - but its now getting pretty close.

 

Thanks for advice

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