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What are my legal rights?

(7 Posts)
brassick Tue 29-Sep-09 18:23:36

Long story, but for the 4th time this year, we have been told (the day before pay day) that we will not be paid on time.

We have been given no indication as to when we will be paid, only told that we should know more "by the end of tomorrow, or Friday".

We are moving offices on Thursday, and are expected to carry out the move ourselves (lugging boxes up and down 2 flights of stairs), plus within my department we are trying to prepare from a visit from our regulator - one of the most feared things that can happen in my industry. So this would be a fairly stressful time even if we had been paid.

We are just expected to get on with things, bascially doing it all for free (well, that's how it feels).

This is a small company, and these are hard times. However, I just don't feel I want to go on like this. I am, of course, looking for another job, but in the meantime, does anyone know what our legal rights are in relation to this? Could we just stop working until we are paid?

TIA

flowerybeanbag Tue 29-Sep-09 20:07:12

How long has it taken for you to get paid the last 3 times? Is there actually any amount of money owed to you still outstanding, apart from this month's salary which is only a question of days at the moment.

You can bring a tribunal claim for non-payment of wages, and/or can make a claim for breach of contract. However if you are being paid just a little bit late then really neither of those are much of an option as you will have the money well before it gets to that stage.

I think all acting together is crucial. I don't know how small the company is but could you request a staff meeting and nominate someone to speak on behalf of the employees about this? You could consider bringing a grievance as a group as well.

In terms of stopping working, well you'd obviously be breaching your contracts as well, and wouldn't be entitled to be paid for time you were not working.

brassick Tue 29-Sep-09 22:39:49

Thanks for your reply.

We have always been paid in full within about a week before, I imagine it will be the same this time.

I just feel like our goodwill is being taken advantage of, and it seems we just have to accept this; we have no power to stop this happening over and over again.

When this happened previously, myself and the HR manager told the director that if there was any chance of this happening again, he should give more than 1 day's notice, so that staff can organise their affairs however necessary. He agreed, but has just done the same thing again.

I know there is no money available, and he is doing his best to get some in, but he seems to have no idea of how this affects us salaried people living in the normal employed world - if we were OK with not knowing whether we were going to get paid from one month to the next, we would start our own businesses and accept the risks inherent in this.

Last time this happened, one of my team was off for 3 weeks with stress - this was the last straw for her that time, and I fear it will happen again, thus putting more pressure on the 2 of us remaining in the team.

This whole thing, and the regulatory visit has also coincided with my 40th birthday - I am going away at the weekend with friends, and it is all going to be spoiled by this sad

To be honest, I just feel like handing my notice in, despite the fact I have nothing to go to. It is my dream, but it has to stay a dream as we can't afford to live without my salary for even 1 week.

Thanks for your input - always useful to hear from someone who knows what they're talking about.

brassick Thu 12-Nov-09 13:19:10

An update on this for anyone who is interested (not many people I realise wink).

We were paid late yet again at the end of October, and despite a promise from the director in September that he would inform everyone a week before payday if there was any suggestion that there wasn't going to be enough cash, he failed to do so, and it was only because of the intervention of the other director that we were given 2 days' notice that our pay would be 3 days late and paid in 2 installments.

The regulators' visit ended in disaster, but that was not related to the work we put in preparing for the visit, more because of the questionable nature of some of the dealings carried out by the directors.

2 weeks ago, I was offered another job grin grin, which of course I accepted. The director did his best to persuade me to stay, in fact he did everything but lie on the floor and hold onto my legs, but I told him it was too late, I had made the decision and it would be a mistake to change my mind.

I don't doubt that my last paypacket will be late, and certainly not prioritised. However, it's the last time I will have to deal with this. I feel bad for the colleagues I'm leaving behind, but I have to put myself and my family first.

Hopefully my new job (same money, easier commute, better prospects) will work out...

bran Thu 12-Nov-09 13:25:45

Congratulations on your new job, I hope you are happy there. smile

Nobody can blame a small company for having cashflow problems in the current climate, but they should have been completely up front with you about the issues.

brassick Thu 12-Nov-09 13:28:06

Thanks bran. That is exactly the point we made to the director over and over. We understand that if there is no money there is not a lot he can do about it. BUT IF HE DOESN'T TELL US UNTIL THE LAST MINUTE THEN IT MAKES THINGS 1,000,000 WORSE! (sorry to shout!).

Hopefully, for my colleagues sakes, he will have learnt this by now...

juneybean Thu 12-Nov-09 13:29:12

Congrats on your new job! Hopefully you can put this stress behind you

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