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Is my teen DS's boss acting illegally?

34 replies

whoseafraidofnaomiwolf · 16/12/2019 18:50

Teenage DS(16) works on a zero hours contract for £4hr with a local employer/ trader. DS recently - unknowingly -accepted a fake £50 note (he used the check pen provided, but nothing flagged amiss), but he didn't double check the note with his boss. His Boss called him when he discovered the fake, and has asked that my DS pay back the money in full, or work it off. This seems very harsh indeed for an employee with no contract on such a low wage. My DS doesn't recall being told he had to check £50's with his boss, but the boss says he told him back when he was first employed. According to my son there is no proof either way - it's his word against his boss. I would like to know if he can legally do this? Any advice/ experiences gratefully received.

OP posts:
Hingeandbracket · 16/12/2019 18:54

Generally deductions of this kind have to be provided for in the contract of employment, but in practice I expect a boss like that will just give him no more hours or fire him if he complains. It is shit.

Todaythiscouldbe · 16/12/2019 18:55

This was the case when I worked in retail, all £50's had to be cross checked. I'm not sure of the legalities of it, any deductions can't take the employee below minimum wage.

Cohle · 16/12/2019 19:03

Employers are not allowed to make deductions unless the employee agrees in writing or in their contract of employment. It doesn't sound like your son has a written contract of employment?

That said, an employee on a zero hours contract is very vulnerable if they try to disagree with their employer over a issue like this.

HollowTalk · 16/12/2019 19:05

I would just leave, if I were your son. I wouldn't work 12 hours for nothing!

Scapegoatforlife · 16/12/2019 19:05

It's really common for all £50 to be doubled checked my management or just not accepting them if no one is available

HollowTalk · 16/12/2019 19:05

Surely £50 notes are rare enough that your son would remember being told about them? I've never seen one!

MairzyDoats · 16/12/2019 19:07

That's crap. As is £4 p/h. Even if your son had shown his boss the note, who's to say he'd have been able to identify that it was a fake? In his shoes, if walk. His boss is taking the piss. Poor kid. Btw, my 16 year old earns £7 p/h pot washing and kitchen littering, so it might be worth around for another job.

Hingeandbracket · 16/12/2019 19:09

my 16 year old earns £7 p/h pot washing and kitchen littering
WTF is kitchen littering?

DishingOutDone · 16/12/2019 19:10

Cohle provided the appropriate link and it seems very clear, unless its in the contract that deductions can come from wages, then staff cannot be asked to repay. Does he even have a contract?

Your DS should just leave, its a mean thing to do to a16 year old on £4 an hour. Be different if he asked him to repay £5 week although even then I'd still want it in the contract.

HanginWithMyGnomies · 16/12/2019 19:13

That’s pretty harsh! Poor kid. It’s a lot of money for them to pay back.

I’ve handed over a lot of £50’s in my time (my ex was paid in cash a lot) and some do check with management, some don’t. Some won’t accept them at all!

It’s catch 22 though. If you complain, he’s likely to get no hours. If you don’t, he’s going to have to pay it back. Sad really.

Mammajay · 16/12/2019 19:13

£4 an hour the point but don't 16 year olds get minimum wage?

TORDEVAN · 16/12/2019 19:18

I think lowest age band is "under 18" and is over £4

StCharlotte · 16/12/2019 19:24

WTF is kitchen littering? It's what happens when my DH cooks Xmas Angry

As for the £50 notes, we had a UV light and one of those pens but no one ever told us what we were looking for! Unless it was very obvious the only way we could tell was if the ink comes off when you rub it on paper. Weirdly this means it's genuine.

And as an aside, how come the smallest shops and bars in the Eurozone never bat an eyelid at a €50 note?

Thefaceofboe · 16/12/2019 19:24

@HollowTalk you’ve never seen a £50 note?? Hmm

Comefromaway · 16/12/2019 19:24

If he is 16 and not yet left school (still in Year 11) there is no minimum wage.

If he did his GCSE’s last year and is in 6th form or college the minimum wage for 16-17 year olds is £4.35

hazell42 · 16/12/2019 19:25

Minimum wage at his age is £4.35.
Which is shockingly low as it is.
Is he getting that?
I think.that by making a deduction he would in effect be paying him less than minimum.wage, which is not legal
Tell your son to quit
He is being taken advantage of.
Any boss who would do that to a.kid is a pretty shit boss

leghairdontcare · 16/12/2019 19:25

Min wage for a 16 year old is £4.35 so the employer is already breaking the law.

I would tell him to quit and report the employer to HMRC.

Comefromaway · 16/12/2019 19:27

Min wage for a 16 year old is £4.35 so the employer is already breaking the law.

I would tell him to quit and report the employer to HMRC.

That depends on exactly when he turned 16.

1990shopefulftm · 16/12/2019 19:27

if he had a contract and he was over minimum wage they could but seems he's being paid under minimum wage.

Comefromaway · 16/12/2019 19:32


Limits to deductions if you work in retail

Your employer can take a maximum of 10% of your weekly or monthly gross pay (your pay before tax and National Insurance) if you work in retail. This is to cover any mistakes or shortfalls, for example with cash or stock.

This limit does not apply to your final pay if you leave your job.

Your employer must let you know in writing if you owe them money. They must explain how they will claim it back before your next pay day.

Comefromaway · 16/12/2019 19:34

Also from ACAS

Your employer can only make a deduction from your pay if:

your contract specifically allows the deduction
it was agreed in writing beforehand

churchandstate · 16/12/2019 19:36

Get your son to tell this joker to piss off. He can find a different job, he’s 16.

Celebelly · 16/12/2019 19:39

It's hardly that unusual to have never seen a £50 note in the flesh! The only reason I have is because my gran always gives me my Christmas money in crisp new £50 notes (or even £100 notes). It's a running joke in our family that she's a dealer or money launderer Grin Whenever I've used them to pay, people often comment on how rarely they see them.

whoseafraidofnaomiwolf · 16/12/2019 21:59

Thanks everyone, He gets £4.10per hour because the employer pays him an 'apprentice wage' (although he's not apprenticed - he's doesn't have a contract, he just works as and when he's needed) - he's year 11. TBH he doesn't treat my boy very well generally, but DS wants to work, and enjoys having some money in his pocket. We've offered to give DS half toward it as he's already paid the employer £40 and plans to work off the rest Angry, and we've advised him to leave asap.

OP posts:
Comefromaway · 16/12/2019 22:57

If he’s Year 11 there is no minimum wage.

BUT he does need a licence from the local authority to employ a young person still at school. Is that in place?

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