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If your employer fails to pay your wages correctly, you may have a claim for breach of contract. Breach of contract occurs when either you or your employer does not adhere to a term in your contract of employment. In the context of pay, an example would be where your employer fails to pay you in lieu of notice which you are entitled to under your contract – this would be a breach of contract.
Making a breach of contract claim in court should be a last resort. If your employer breaches your employment contract, you should attempt to resolve the matter informally with them first. If you cannot resolve the matter by talking to your employer, you can try raising a grievance against them. Furthermore, if you are within the 3-month time limit prescribed for bringing claims before an employment tribunal, you should attempt to do this. You will be entitled to claim compensation where your employer has breached your contract and you have lost out financially as a result of this breach of contract.
You could make a breach of contract claim for compensation for any of the following breaches of the contract:
• non payment of wages.
• non payment of travel expenses.
• non payment of holiday pay.
• non payment of contractual sick pay.
• Not being paid during your notice period where you have been dismissed
• Not being paid in lieu of notice where you have been dismissed without being given proper notice
If you are no longer for your employer, you may be able to bring a breach of contract claim before an employment tribunal. However, if you are still working for your employer you will need to make a breach of contract claim in court. In England and Wales, you must bring your claim to the county court or the High Court and in Scotland, to the sheriff court or the Court of Session.
Claims for unlawful deductions from wages Non-payment of wages, non-payment of holiday pay and non-payment of contractual sick pay, are considered unlawful deduction from wages claims. In these cases, it may be easier and more expedient to make a claim for unlawful deduction from wages before an employment tribunal, rather than claiming breach of contract to a court.Your solicitor will be able to explain your options and choose the best course of action for you depending on the facts of your case.
Claims for unpaid notice or pay in lieu of notice should be brought as a breach of contract claim rather than a claim for unlawful deduction from wages. Where you have not been paid for working during your notice period, or have not been given a payment in lieu where you were not given proper notice, you can make a compensation claim for wrongful dismissal. The compensation you will be able to claim will be the amount of notice pay that you should have received, with tax and national insurance deducted. Claims can be made to an employment tribunal except in the circumstances where you are claiming more than is can be claimed at an employment tribunal or you have missed the time limit for brining a claim. These claims can be made to an employment tribunal, unless you are claiming more than the set limit or if you have missed the time limit to make a claim to a tribunal. In these cases, you will have to make your claim to a court. An employment tribunal can award you compensation for your financial loss up to a maximum of £25,000. A claim for compensation for breach of contract will be in addition to any compensation you may claim for unfair dismissal or discrimination.
Whether you are an employee or an employer in need of advice in relation to a wage loss claim or any other employment law issue in Edinburgh, Scotland, Employment Law Edinburgh's team of specialist Employment solicitors can help. To get in touch, you can either call us on 0131 516 7728 or complete our enquiry form.