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Employer closed at shutdown and reopened at a different location

(39 Posts)
Charlieandthechocolatecake Fri 26-Jun-20 01:02:21

This is on behalf of my mum.

She worked at a cafe for 3 years. She never had a written contract. Its was a verbal agreement and the only proof is text messages and payments into her account.

The owners were never physically involved in the business. Mum opened and closed every day, done orders, deliveries etc.

The day lockdown was announced, mum went to work as usual and the owner was there, waiting outside. They asked her for her keys and told her they were closing until further notice due to the lockdown. Mum hasn't heard from them since despite trying to contact them multiple times.

She found out recently that they have reopened the business elsewhere in the (small) town. Regardless of Covid, this is something they've done 3 or 4 times over the past few years.

Mum is looking for other positions but I think that she should have been given either redundancy or furlough pay. She's a hard worker and it's just not right.

She's not tech savvy so I intend to contact ACAS in her behalf but does anybody have any knowledge in regards to stuff like this?
She never had a written contract but there's plenty of texts and bank statements showing that she worked there.

OP’s posts: |
Charlieandthechocolatecake Fri 26-Jun-20 01:09:36

I didn't mean to enable voting, my apologies!

OP’s posts: |
safariboot Fri 26-Jun-20 01:53:50

No written contract does not get the employer out of their legal obligations!

It seems to me like she has, in fact, been made redundant. If upheld, she would get both pay in lieu of notice (since the required notice was not given) and redundancy pay. It should be 6 to 8 weeks pay depending on her age.

Hopefully ACAS can be helpful.

EveryDayIsADuvetDay Fri 26-Jun-20 02:03:17

you mention bank transfers - surely there are payslips, tax documents, pension statements?
Just trying to establish whether the employer has tried to keep the whole thing under the radar, not paid NI, or deducted employees NI & Tax.

BoomBoomsCousin Fri 26-Jun-20 02:04:19

The no written contract thing is irrelevant. And if they just took the keys off her and didn’t give her notice and make her redundant properly, she may have a right to a lot more than redundancy pay. Possibly (and she will need to check with someone qualified) she is owed her salary up until they do actually make her properly redundant (which they may not be able to do if they’ve hired someone else to do her job - so salary and then wrongful termination). She should definitely speak with ACAS and consider getting an hour or so with an employment lawyer to work out what she has a chance of recovering from them.

littlenickyy61 Fri 26-Jun-20 02:08:39

Check out if her home insurance comes with legal cover. Most do and that’s how I took my ex employer to tribunal without it costing me a penny

HisNibs Fri 26-Jun-20 03:13:14

Legally the absence of a written contract means nothing. At 3 years, she will be under a deemed contract encompassing the statutory minimums such as holiday, notice period etc. At the very least, she will be entitled to pay in lieu of notice plus redundancy pay of 1, possibly 2 weeks (depending on age) statutory redundancy pay for every complete year of service. Assuming the owners haven't declared bankruptcy, they are obliged to pay this. If the other premises is doing the same work as where your mum was, she would also have a claim at an employment tribunal for unfair dismissal - they can't make someone redundant and employ someone else in the same position for, I believe, 6 months. That would be wrongful dismissal. As pp have said, contact ACAS and legal advice through home insurance if available. Some solicitors also do a 30-60 minute free consultation.
I would also check into her payroll status to check that tax and NI have been paid and also in this Covid era whether or not they have been claiming furlough for her but not paying it to her iykwim. That would be fraud. A chat to HMRC might be in order. Her bank statements are accepted as proof of employment.

Elsewyre Fri 26-Jun-20 04:11:14

Has she been paying tax all this time?

If not going down the legal route isn't the smartest idea when you've been committing a crime.

Needtolovemyself Fri 26-Jun-20 04:46:36


What crime? The onus is on the employer to pay the deductions.


Good luck with this. I hope your mum gets a decent pay out.

Quietheart Fri 26-Jun-20 05:11:10

@Charlieandthechocolatecake you will get all sorts of opinions on here, your mother has not committed a crime. There are many employees without a contract, payslips or tax statements. I think furlough exposed how many were not registered with HMRC by their employers. Thankfully she is paid by bank transfer.

@HisNibs has probably given you all the advice you would get in a 30 minute interview so I would start with their sugestions.

Charlieandthechocolatecake Sat 27-Jun-20 20:22:38

Thank you so much for your advice.

I've just asked mum how she was paid, I know it went into her bank, just need to check it went via HMRC first.

Thank you so much. She really does work hard. Doesn't deserve this at all x

OP’s posts: |
Charlieandthechocolatecake Sat 27-Jun-20 21:27:20

Mum just sent me the letter confirming her services were no longer needed due to coronavirus and a dispute with the landlord. She was not given notice pay or redundancy.
The letter was dated March 20th, shortly after she turned up to work and was asked for the keys back. She's paid weekly. It looks like it's too late for an unfair dismissal claim (3 months).

OP’s posts: |
safariboot Sat 27-Jun-20 22:01:53

Don't give up.

The date printed on the letter means little. When did she actually receive it?

Personally I would focus on claiming the unpaid redundancy pay and notice pay. In my non-expert opinion this looks like a redundancy rather than a sacking, considering the workplace closed and indeed has reopened at a different location. The time limit for chasing redundancy pay is six months. For notice pay it's normally three months, but since the ex-employer did not give a clear statement at the time and was uncontactable for some period I wouldn't rule out the tribunal finding in your favour.

Charlieandthechocolatecake Sat 27-Jun-20 22:30:56

Thanks @safariboot. My mum isn't tech savvy so I've started a claim via ACAS on her behalf in regards to redundancy. There was a section asking about anything else. I asked mum and she said she was never given her mileage for deliveries, any tips, holiday pay, nothing. I know she never had a contract but she's got so many messages proving that she worked there. Shifts, disputes re mileage, holiday. Everything.
She's got nothing to lose. I put myself down as the person helping with the claim and they've asked me to call too. Thank you for your help x

OP’s posts: |
2kool4skool Sat 27-Jun-20 22:40:39

Has she not paid any tax on her wages?

LouiseTrees Sat 27-Jun-20 22:53:23


you mention bank transfers - surely there are payslips, tax documents, pension statements?
Just trying to establish whether the employer has tried to keep the whole thing under the radar, not paid NI, or deducted employees NI & Tax.

This. And this would also be illegal and fine to shop to HMRC.

LouiseTrees Sat 27-Jun-20 22:55:22


Has she been paying tax all this time?

If not going down the legal route isn't the smartest idea when you've been committing a crime.

I disagree with this as she could claim she was not aware of her employers lack of tax payments and that she believed the amount coming into her bank was her net salary.

2kool4skool Sat 27-Jun-20 22:56:23

If she was actually self employed tho she’ll owe tax

redbigbananafeet Sat 27-Jun-20 23:18:37

So under the counter and not paying tax or NI? Is she also claiming?

ifpossible Sun 28-Jun-20 00:29:07

Really at what point has the OP said her mother was not legit??
She would not be enquiring about redundancy or furlough pay then would she?

RainbowMum11 Sun 28-Jun-20 01:06:16

No mention of her being self employed either.
She can view her personal tax account and NIC contributions through the Government Gateway, or verify accounts through so then she would know how much tax has been paid over through PAYE at least.
Agree ACAS and then consulting an employment lawyer.

notapizzaeater Sun 28-Jun-20 01:12:53

Def speak to someone who can help here, they are on dodgy ground with no holiday pay, so she's owed 3 years worth of that at least, check the house insurance, they might be able to help.

bakedcrisps Sun 28-Jun-20 01:21:08

Oh wow your mum is in for a mega payday! What they’ve done is all sorts of illegal.

cstaff Sun 28-Jun-20 01:56:57

If those messages are on WhatsApp make sure that they are saved. If her employer deletes your mum from the group chat all the messages will disappear.

StarlightLady Sun 28-Jun-20 04:22:55

Save/back up/print everything relevant. It’s time for an employment lawyer.

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