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Can any employee lawyers help me - problem with old Company not paying Holiday pay whilst on Maternity Leave

50 replies

MrsRecycle · 31/07/2007 13:06

I'm not sure if anyone can help me but I've spoken to acas and it looks like I've been well and truly shafted by my old employers. Background - sent them a letter last June advising them of pregnancy and proposal to take 5 days holiday just before Maternity Leave. Never received a reply or acknowledgement. Received my maternity pay but the 5 days holiday were unpaid. Chased up my payslips which were finally sent out 3 months after start of maternity leave. Spoke to payroll (emailed them but they said as it was so complicated they would speak over the phone) who explained that as I was on Maternity Leave I could not have the 5 days as this was payroll and the Inland Revenue wouldn't let me be on payroll and maternity leave at the sametime. They promised that as soon as I finished my maternity leave I would get the 5 days owing to me. Spoke to my boss on numerous occasions about this and promised the 5 days. I was awaiting a suitable position to arise so that I could go back to work. No suitable position materialised (more cr*p over the phone) so I got a job with another company and asked for my P45 and owing money (in May this year).

They promised this to me but it has never materialised - only a P45 which showed 0 pay for the current tax yer. When I spoke to them over the phone they said that I would have to put everything in writing. This I've done and I have been going backwards and forwards with them. They are now saying that I took too many days off and are not paying the 5 days. I have signed timesheets that back-up the days I took holiday and the days I was sick. My contract states that I had 20 days holiday (in addition to Bank Holidays) and 10 days sick and that the sickness notification is by a phone call to my manager. This was done. On my timesheets, when I had holiday I wrote it accordingly and when I was sick I wrote either sick or n/a. They have also misinterpreted the timesheets and are saying that for some days I was not working when the timesheet clearly states that I was.

I have spoke to Acas and, surprise surpirse, any claim for an illegal deduction from your pay needs to be made within 3 months of it happening. So they knew what they were doing when they held back my payslips.

I would like to issue a small claims against my old employer for the 5 days plus interest (since it is over a year now) and I know the process itself is quite easy. Has anyone ever been through this process or is anyone an employment law specialist? Do you think I could win, as I have documents that back up the days I worked - I just don't have documents to back my sickness as this was done verbally over the phone.

Thanks for reading - and helping!!

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MrsRecycle · 31/07/2007 13:14


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flowerybeanbag · 31/07/2007 13:20

Oh Mrs Recycle, this is outrageous, and such bs that you can't be on the payroll and maternity leave at the same time!

I am up on my employment law, and ACAS have obviously given you decent advice in that area, but I'm not a lawyer I'm afraid, so I can't advise about small claims process. But I would say that is the best route definitely and I would hope you would be successful in a claim like this.

callmeovercautious · 31/07/2007 13:22

What did they do about the Holiday you accured whilst you were on maternilty leave? You should have accrued holiday then too. (there is a thread on employment at the minute about this).

You may want to go back to acas about it if you have not been given that.

Kewcumber · 31/07/2007 13:24

MrsR - I'd issue a small claims court proceeding because frankly to turn up and represent themselves would probably cost more than just paying you! Also you should still consider an employment tribunal as they may consider your claim due to the holding back of payslips.

I have an employment lawyer I use in work but they aren;t cheap so it depends how much money you think you are owed by then (lawyers are £100's per hour). If you want it I can email you.

Otehrwise you can represent yourself at small claims court for a small fee I think.

VeniVidiVickiQV · 31/07/2007 13:25

You should be able to.

Can you not issue a claim with an employment tribunal or are you too late? (havent paid attention to times and dates you have given - sorry!).

You are entitled to paid holiday. The being on payroll and maternity leave not allowed by IR is bullsh*t.

You HAVE to be on a payroll and PAYE in order to GET statutory maternity pay.

You also accrue holiday pay whilst ON maternity leave, so you are entitled to that too.

If you can write it all down in detail for me and CAT me - i'll see if i can make sense of it.

MrsRecycle · 31/07/2007 13:41

Thanks everyone for your replies - I really do appreciate it. I cannot believe I was so dumb to believe them about the payroll/Mat Pay when I've just remembered Maternity Pay is subject to Tax & NIC (although Maternity Allowance isn't).

I spoken to acas and to go to Tribunal has to be within 3 months of the illegal deduction - they said that they might extend this to 6 months in special circumstances but we are now 1 year after it.

I've just realised that every month they paid me and included the sick days in my months pay. If they didn't want to pay me for the sick days then they should have deducted these "unauthorised" days from the relevant month's pay not now - a year afterwards! I'm sure any Judge would be disgusted at the treatment I'm receiving.

Vicki - I'll contact you if you don't mind thanks so much!

KC - dh has just asked if I would be able to reclaim the costs of the lawyer against my emloyer so that maybe an option (teach them to mess with me!)

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MrsRecycle · 31/07/2007 13:43

Oh and re the accrued holiday - they are not actually disputing this and we both agree on the calculations. They are trying to dispute the days I was off sick. Shame I wasn't pregnant this year and they would have had to pay me Accrued holidays whilst on AML rather than just those on OML.

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Kewcumber · 31/07/2007 13:45

You can claim costs in small claims court but they could also claim costs against you if you lose...

Paddlechick666 · 31/07/2007 13:46

MrsR, sorry to hear you're being shafted like this.

Can't offer any advice I'm afraid but can empathise.

I too was shafted over the holiday accrued during maternity leave.

I tried to get HR to recognise the ACAS statement but they refuted it as being "additional parental leave" and as such unpaid and also said how could I accrue paid holiday when I wasn't being paid by the company!

I wasn't a member of the union at that time and the end of the holiday year was approaching and after being stonewalled by HR I reluctantly let it go.

This is also the company who told me I didn't get a bonus "because it's difficult to give someone a bonus who's not here"!! this was for the year that i worked 9 months and was on mat leave for 3 months. Have since found out another colleague on mat leave was told the same thing.

Am now a member of the union and if they ever do anything to shaft me again I will take them to the cleaners!

Am seriously going to start job hunting in the new year I think.

Anyways, hope you get some resolution.

Kewcumber · 31/07/2007 13:46

your house insurance may also cover you for legal costs.

Paddlechick666 · 31/07/2007 13:47

ps: I work for a very well known company who has actually won awards for it's flexible working and care of employees!

MrsRecycle · 31/07/2007 13:54

KC - I was actually thinking that - will check out my policy.

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MrsRecycle · 31/07/2007 13:56

pc - am astonished about you not working for them whilst on maternity leave - surely that is sexual discrimination. If you're looking for work I could see if they have anything where I am at the moment.

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Paddlechick666 · 31/07/2007 14:03

i know MrsR, I really wished I'd pursued it at the time but.....

thanks for the offer, am planning to get moved and settled and do some professional accreditations (which work can pay for) then start job hunting.

too much on at the mo to really put the effort into being perky and keen not to mention appearing intelligent at interviews!

MrsRecycle · 31/07/2007 14:14

You don't have to be perky or intelligent here - a 20 minute telephone interview did it for me!! Let me know when you start actively looking and I'll see if they have anything (you can also let work from home).

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foxcub · 31/07/2007 14:14

Mrs R - this makes me cross - what an underhand way to treat you! Do you think it was deliberate or are they just completely incompetent? Sounds rather deliberate though.

The Equal Opps Commission website and Working Families website both have lots of info on them about this kind of thing and Working Families have a free legal advice helpline too.

I know an employment lwyer but he's just moved to Kent. If you use your house insurance I think you need to use the lawyer they recommend.

MrsRecycle · 31/07/2007 14:19

Initially I believed everything they said but when I put it into black and white I realised they knew exactly what they were doing. Especially after they held back my payslips for 3 months. Thanks for the working families info, I'll give them a call - my cm also mentioned something about a consumers helpline that's really good. I'll get the no. off her.

Seeing everything in black and white, I don't think I can lose but it depends on the judge on the day doesn't it?

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foxcub · 31/07/2007 14:27

That must make it even worse - knwoing they knowlingly stitched you

TBH I think most judges are pretty unsympathetic to employers about this kind of thing and will probably hang them out to dry.

MrsRecycle · 31/07/2007 14:31

That's exactly what I'm thinking Foxie!!

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foxcub · 31/07/2007 14:41

Am clearing out loads of books...anyone want a signed copy of "Monica's story" (subtitled "blow jobs I have given" ) by Andrew Morton?

[snigger] [snigger]

foxcub · 31/07/2007 14:42

means its the illustrated editions

foxcub · 31/07/2007 14:43

..sorry, back to work

DS2 has done two Armageddonappies and seems in much better spirits now

MrsRecycle · 31/07/2007 14:43

pmsl Foxie - wrong thread!!

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VeniVidiVickiQV · 31/07/2007 16:54

Have replied to you MrsR

xoxo · 31/07/2007 17:41

My very best advice is to contact Camilla Palmer of Palmer Wade solicitors who would talk through your position and give you sound advice on whether it is pragmatic to progress or not. she's really sound and has tapering costs depending on affordability. The initial discussion is free. And KC is absolutely right about household insurance.

also, timescales such as a three month deadline usually kick in from when you find out (or would have found out, acting reasonably): just to protect someone from sneakiness, rather than complacency. Can ACAS look into this?

Best of luck.

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