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Can a employer withhold wages due to covid 19

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I wonder if any one can give me some advice.

This is a bit complicated but is the same situation with 2 different employers I will try and explain.


My husband was working for a company that he had been working for for over 12 years,

they started treating him badly,

he became more and more un happy.

In the end he felt he had no choice but to find another job and leave. 


He found a new job

worked his notice period which according to his contract was 2 weeks then left.

His last day at old Job was 15th March

he started new job on 16th March.


He worked 5 days at new job then they had to close due to covid 19 and my husband was sent home.

He has not been able to work since.


New employer cant furlough him as he was not on the payroll before cut off.

we currently have no money coming in and have 4 children to care for.


His old employer has not paid him his last pay.

He was due his last pay for the last weeks he worked over 3 weeks ago.

But has received nothing,

he has not even recieve his P45. 

Old employer say they can not pay him what they owe as cant afford it.


His new employer has also not paid my husband for the hours he did work.

He has recieved no pay since started new job.

They say the same thing that they cant afford to pay him what they owe.


My question is,

is an employer allowed to withhold wages they owe for hours that have already been worked due to covid 19.

Is there any way we can get this money that my husband is owed.


I dont know if it makes any different but will mention just in-case

at the  old job my husband was paid by the hour every 4 weeks.

new job was a yearly salary meant to be paid monthly on last day of each month.


Is small claims court are only option.

If so how long do we have to file a claim and would it be expensive.

Would rather not take the court route but we are desperate and need that money to put food on table and pay some Bill's.


My husband does not work for free and currently feels like he has been used by both employers.


Do we have to accept losing that money

Any advice much appreciated 

Thanks in advance 

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Cant answer much, but furlough scheme was extended to 19th March, so the new company should be able to do it if he started before then. 

have a look here Furlough date 

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Unfortunately the extension to the furlough scheme is very misleading.

You needed to be on the pay roll and employer needs to have notified to HMRC through an RTI submission by 19th march to qualify.


In reality most employers dont submit RTI until end of each month.

So extension means nothing and does not help new starters. 


my husband did not start until 16th March they had not submitted rti before the 19th.

Therefore he does not qualify for furlough.

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there's no way to effectively force them to pay.

You're right that you can go to court.

it won't be fast, but money claim online is not wildly expensive.

However; if they don't have it then they don't, and no amount of court orders will make cashflow appear. 


Have you checked what benefits you are entitled to?

Never assume anyone on the internet is who they say they are. Only rely on advice from insured professionals you have paid for!

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We are screwed

they are legally entitled to employ people,

make them work

and then not pay them

and there is nothing illegal about that

and nothing we can do. 


these days we are expected to work for free it's a joke.


My husband worked those hours and should be paid.

Benifits has nothing to do with this.


We have tried to claim universal credits

but its barely any thing certainly not enough to pay all Bill's or put food on table. 


Oh and his old employer can afford to pay him

she just does not want to,

is greedy

and taking advantage of the current situation with covid. 


If she can drive around in a brand new porch and sit in her garden of her million pound home drinking champagne

( posting pictures of her self on facebook).

I think she can afford to pay her staff. 


I cant even afford to put food on table to feed my children

but she is sitting there drinking champagne and living a life of luxury how is that fair.

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I’m not saying their behaviour is legal. I’m saying you can’t force them to pay up instantly. 

Never assume anyone on the internet is who they say they are. Only rely on advice from insured professionals you have paid for!

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when did you last try to claim benefits?

since he was laid-off?


I suggest you getup on entitled.to and get the claims running it suggests.


its now the 3rd of may, the claims could have been sorted by now, or you could get the advance you are allowed.


a few weeks work backpay will only realise a couple of £k if at best, what are you going to do when that runs out?


because you think someone is taking the mickey out of him is no excuse to stick your head in the sand.


most bills you owe don't need paying if you contact those that require paying and tell them the situation.


using a social media site to post a look at poor me plea is not helping you....we can't do that, only you can, but you must act...


you'll get the backpay in the fullness of time, if not, then will be the time to launch and attack, at present, as you already know, it's pretty pointless.




please don't hit Quote...just type we know what we said earlier..


if everyone stopped blindly paying DCA's tomorrow

the biggest financial industry in the UK, DCA;s would collapse overnight.



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Totally agree with the last post from dx.


Do not panic !


Cancel all direct debits and standing orders.


Contact all companies/organisations you normally make payments to, just to advise them you have had to stop payments due to current situation.


Use a Benefits calculator such as on websites Entitledto or Turn2us


Contact you local Council Authority to see what help they can provide. Have a look on their website. It is not just Council Tax Benefit, but Discretionary Housing Payments if you rent and one off hardship funds to help with basic living requirements.

We could do with some help from you.



 Have we helped you ...?         Please Donate button to the Consumer Action Group


If you want advice on your thread please PM me a link to your thread

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Dk100uk, I posted asking for advice I did not ask for rudeness.  You obviously dont have a clue what it's like to be in our situation or what it feels like to not be able to support your family or put food on table due to no fault of your own. 


Every night we cant sleep, i lie in bed crying not knowing how we are going to cope the next day and the next day. Feeling like a failure. Do you know what that feels like.


Like I said above we have filed claims what we have been awarded is hardly any thing and not enough to live on, ask the millions of people who have had to claim universal credit they will all tell you how little universal credits are, you cant live on universal credits.


We are not sticking are head in the sand we are trying to do some thing about it and I find your reply insulting and rude.


Regarding your comment about most Bill's not needing to be paid you obviously dont have a clue to make such a stupid comment.  


Spoken to housing associations that we rent house from have explained situation to them but they dont care and are still demanding rent payments and have even put rent price up. We are falling behind in rent, they are now threatening eviction in June. So yes have to pay rent. 


Phoned electricity/gas company (eon) explained situation again they dont care we are now falling behind in that bill they have now got there debt recover department harassing us and threatening disconnection of electricity and gas.


Phone and internet bill. Could not pay so bt restricted and blocked it all so had no phone or internet  to keep in touch with family and hospitals( youngest son has to go to hospital alot due to medical reasons and need to keep in touch with medical specialists he is under. I had to sell stuff to make money to pay this bill so phone and internet services could be reactived.

Similar story with all other Bill's. So yes all Bill's do need to be paid.  These big companies dont care they just want there money.


We are trying to sell as much of our belongings as possible to try and get money to pay the Bill's.


My post was not a plea for help all I asked was can a employer with hold your wages due to covid and where do we stand legally. that's all I wanted to know. No one has answered this question.you all just keep telling me to claim benifits. 


What happens if this drags on and on and they dont pay. I Thought you only had 3 months to file a claim from the day you were due to be paid. If we keep waiting this time will pass and wont be able to file a claim.  Am I right or not. 


I know what my husband is owed wont last long but if it can pay Bill's for a few weeks it can give us time to breath and take away the worry for a little bit. Right now I cant think about the future we are having to live each day as it comes.


Thank you to those who have replied with helpful advice.



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 I think I have answered the legal question.  There is no fast way to get the problem resolved; it;ll be court.


However, you are clearly under a huge amount of pressure so here and some other ideas not related to the legal side of things.

-  ask for help from your local foodbank

- if you have debts, would you consider going onto a managed debt plan via eg CAB, to get your payments to a token amount

- do any employers either of you have worked for have a benevolent fund?

- do take a phone consultation with your doctor about managing the stress

- remember the samaritans are only a call away, 24/7

- contact shelter for accurate information about how long evictions take - you have more breathing space than you think. https://england.shelter.org.uk/housing_advice/coronavirus


I'm sorry we don't have an easy answer for you. Take care.


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Never assume anyone on the internet is who they say they are. Only rely on advice from insured professionals you have paid for!

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Outside of the London area, the Benefit Cap allows you to receive benefits including Child Benefit up to £1666.67 per month.


With 4 Children ( if all 4 are included as born before 2 child cap introduced) , if there are no earnings being deducted for on the Universal Credit claim, I am guessing that you received Universal Credit of about £1300* for the month. On top of that you receive Child Benefit.  *If you have taken a UC advance and this is being deducted for you will have received less as the advance repayment deduction is part of Benefit cap calculation, when they work out net UC award.


Of course once the Housing rent is paid, you are not left with a huge amount to pay for everything else.  What you can do, is ask your local Council Authority for Discretionary Housing Payments as you are affected by Benefit Cap. You can also apply to the Council Authority for Council Tax Benefit. Do this urgently, if not done, as they won't backdate normally.


Your local Council Authority can also offer one-off temporary assistance, if you are in hardship and have no other source of help.


Suggest you seek more  Benefit advice and also debt advice, as this may help you organise how deal with the current situation.


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We could do with some help from you.



 Have we helped you ...?         Please Donate button to the Consumer Action Group


If you want advice on your thread please PM me a link to your thread

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 Sorry to hear about your problem. In regards to furloughed payment, the money is provided by the government as far as I know, your employer is just the middle man for the payment.


Good article here:


Am I Entitled To Furlough Pay?

The information in this blog is based on Government guidance as of 4:00 pm on 27 March 2020. Furlough PayGuidance has been published further details of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (more commonly known as the Furlough Pay Scheme).

At this stage, it is unclear when exactly the scheme will go live and whether HMRC will rely only on the guidance when operating the scheme or if legislation will be enacted. It is also unclear when the scheme will actually commence however payments are to be backdated to 1 March 2020.

The areas in which we have received a number of queries are set out below:

Who Is Entitled to Receive Furlough Pay?

All employees who are paid through a PAYE scheme. This includes agency staff if paid through PAYE.

The types of employers named are who are covered by the scheme are businesses, charities, recruitment agencies and public authorities.

To qualify, you must have been on the payroll on or before 28 February 2020 – anyone hired after that date is not eligible.

The scheme is also open to employees made redundant since 28 February 2020 provided the employer is willing to rehire them.

Employees with more than one job are eligible. Furlough leave can be paid for each job an employee works in.


Also see the Martin Lewis website, which explains further.


As the others have said you need to see what other benefits are available, and see to any other debts you may have. We can also help with these.















































































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