Unlawful Wage Deduction Claims

When payday comes and you are surprised to find that your employer has taken deductions from your wages it can cause real financial strain. However you shouldn’t always take your employers reasons for deduction as gospel. Most of the time when you have had deductions from your wage the reason your employer has done so may be just. However, from time to time your employer may unlawfully take deductions from your wage packet that you are entitled to claim back.

What are the circumstances when my employer can make a deduction?

  • If it is authorised by statute (e.g. tax, national insurance, court orders for maintenance payments and fines)
  • If it is authorised by the contract (there is no requirement that the term has to be in writing but the employer should notify the employee in writing about the existence of the term before making a deduction)
  • If the employee has agreed to the deduction in writing prior to the deduction.


Deductions from your wage which can be claimed back can either be classed as unlawful wage deductions or breach of contract.

The following examples are classed as ‘wages’, to claim any deductions on the following you must issue a claim for ‘unlawful wage deduction’ at an employment tribunal:

  • Salary
  • Commission & bonuses
  • Holiday pay
  • Statutory sick pay
  • Statutory maternity, paternity and adoption pay
  • Notice pay


The following examples are not classed as ‘wages’ and to claim these back you must issue a claim for ‘breach of contract’ in either a employment tribunal or the civil courts:

  • Loans & advances on wages
  • Pensions, allowances or gratuities in connection with retirement
  • Expenses
  • Redundancy payments
  • Expenses
  • Benefits in kind (gym membership, private health care, life assurance)


If your current or previous employer has ever taken deductions from your pay and did so without your consent then you may be entitled to pursue a claim. EAD solicitors appreciates that making a claim against an employer is never an easy decision – we understand the dilemma and can give you the right advice to make the whole process easier. Whether you are a trade union member or an individual worker, we can tailor our approach to suit you, with cost-effective options including ‘no win, no fee’ agreements.

Using EAD’s employment solicitors puts you in a strong position and you can be confident that you are in expert hands. Our employment department is highly experienced in all aspects of employment law work for trade unions, union members and individual workers. We can provide advice and representation on employment law and industrial issues, guiding you through proceedings and helping you reach your goal.

Call us on 0151 735 1000 and speak to one of our Liverpool solicitors. Or try our online ask a solicitor app (Ask EAD), it provides free legal advice direct from our employment law specialists.


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