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HR/Payroll query - is this an unlawful deduction or something?

(10 Posts)
perfectstorm Sat 28-May-11 21:32:50

(Reposted from wrong thread!)

My husband's team have been working stupid hours recently due to serious understaffing problems. They're meant to get overtime for this - they are working with an absolute skeleton, and it's a busy time of year.

This week some of his staff were told by a little Hitler at payroll that they will only be getting the standard rate for all hours worked, because they failed to tick the box on their timesheets for overtime and they aren't allowed to claim the extra money owed later. It doesn't actually affect DH, but he is pretty cross on their behalf and wanted to know the legal position before he made a big fuss about it for them.

The stress and hassle of the staff shortage is such that the bonus cash is not much compensation anyway. All in all, it seems to take the piss. They've worked the hours and advised payroll of their mistake - can they really suffer a salary deduction if they make a minor admin error?

I should add that the box they need to tick is an irrelevance - the number of hours worked apparently makes it blatantly obvious that they're entitled. But the payroll people are saying it makes their lives easier if people tick and it's not their job to check hours worked against overtime entitlement. My husband's attitude is that that is indeed their job, and the clue to this is in the word "payroll". Is he right in thinking this is an unlawful salary deduction?

Thanks in advance.

nannynick Sun 29-May-11 10:24:44

Don't know about any legal position, but I would have thought it would be up to someone (a manager perhaps) to authorise overtime payments.

The ticking the box sounds like a procedural thing, which ideally should have been ticked but wasn't. So this payroll run there was no additional pay, can't see why payroll can't add that pay on the next payroll run. It may not fit their procedure but if people have worked the hours and their contract says that they get paid extra for those hours, then I feel the payment is owed.

I don't think it's an unlawful salary deduction as no deduction has been made - they just haven't paid the extra amount for those hours worked, instead have paid the standard rate.

perfectstorm Sun 29-May-11 11:51:46

My DH is the manager. The overtime is authorised - not just by DH, but in turn by his manager. This is payroll refusing to pay for it unless they claim in a specific manner, when in the past it was always just put through anyway. They're refusing to put it through at the next run.

DH is planning to take it up with his own boss, but wanted to know the legal position first as if it's not lawful, that would avoid his boss having discretion on it. I can't see how refusing to pay someone money they have earned at that rate, and instead paying at a lower rate, is not unlawful, minor admin error or not. But I don't know for sure, sadly. My employment law study was at undergrad level and quite old now - so worthless, pretty much.

Oh well. Thanks anyway.

flowery Sun 29-May-11 18:41:39

It's not an unlawful deduction as nothing has been deducted. Potentially it's non-payment of wages though.

What do their contracts say about overtime. Does it say only payable if box is ticked or whatever? What is payroll's reason for refusing, given the employees' manager has confirmed it is supposed to be at the overtime rate? Presumably payroll report into someone, has your DH asked him/her to sort it out? What was the response?

perfectstorm Sun 29-May-11 19:29:02

Thank you!

Contract for those staff just says overtime is payable for work in excess of standard hours or on days where time-and-a-half is payable (weekends, bank holidays, etc) and there is nothing at all about how to claim the higher rate.

DH is going to take it up with his own manager if he can't talk payroll round, which is the next line of attack, but frankly his boss is a bit of a lazy sod - unless DH can say "this isn't legal, never mind right" he suspects he will just say, "well, it's a payroll issue and they should have ticked that box." I may add that in the decade DH has been wth the company nobody has ever given a crap about that box before as far as he knows.

The really appalling thing is that they're mostly minimum wage. His staff are actually bloody good and really go out of their way for him, and that's the only reason they've had cover (someone's maternity leave not yet covered and a dismissal, meaning seriously understaffed).

Thanks for the help - I was pretty amazed at the attitude he described, tbh.

flowery Sun 29-May-11 19:31:36

If there's nothing contractually/procedurally specifically saying 'if box not ticked overtime not paid', then they are owed it. How spectularly unhelpful of payroll hmm.

perfectstorm Sun 29-May-11 19:54:37

Brilliant, thank you. DH will be chuffed to bits with that response. And hopefully there will be some very low paid families a bit better off because of you next month. grin

HSMM Sun 29-May-11 20:21:52

I used to work in payroll and I only paid what I was told to pay, but in this instance a simple note to explain the error from the people authorising the money would have enabled me to make the additional payment.

hairylights Mon 30-May-11 10:24:50

If a payroll clerk is calling the shots then the tail is wagging the dog.

perfectstorm Mon 30-May-11 17:08:35

It's actually a tad more complex. (You're right - and it's not a payroll clerk.) But I can't say how, or DH may be identifiable. The legal point was what he needed clarifying, before he took it to his own boss.

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