Unlawful Wage Deductions
If you are in the UK on a Tier 2 General Visa then you may be worried about what your employer can and cannot do as far as your employment is concerned. Most of the UK's employers are very good and adhere to the strict standards that are laid out in British law that are designed to protect employees. Unfortunately, like in all walks of life, there are some who seek to take advantage of their staff. This can lead to numerous issues for their staff who often worry about needing to keep in their employers good graces to remain in the country. In this article we are going to look specifically at unlawful deduction - i.e. deductions from your wages that you have not authorised. We will look at what they are and what you can do if you suspect that your employer has taken money from your wages unlawfully.
What constitutes an unlawful wage deduction?
In essence, an unlawful wage deduction would be any removal of funds from your wages that is not covered in your contract of employment. When you start to work with an employer, and specifically in the case of Tier 2 Sponsor Licence holders, your wages are set out clearly. Unless there is a contractual reason for not paying them to you (i.e. you are off sick and not entitled to full pay) you should be paid the correct sum of money at the agreed upon schedule (i.e. monthly or weekly). Failure to adhere to this would mean that your employer is breaking their end of the contract and leaves them liable to legal action.
Other such deductions may arise from lateness or damage to company property. Unless these are specifically laid out in your contract of employment, you should not need to pay them. If you have any queries about your pay you should speak to the HR representative at your company, they should be able to allay your fears and explain the deductions clearly. If you are unhappy with their answer, you may need to seek further advice from solicitors such as ourselves.
What are my rights if my employer unlawfully deducts money from my wages?
If your employer takes funds from your wages unlawfully then you are of course able to do something about it. We would urge, in the first instance, that you speak to the HR department or representative at your company. This way you can find out whether the deduction is an oversight and allow it to be rectified quickly. We always suggest trying to deal with things in-house as this helps to maintain a strong relationship between you and the company that you work for.
If you do not get a positive response or are still unhappy, you should then decide what to do next. We would advise at this point that you speak to someone with specialist knowledge in employment law - such as our solicitors. They can help to look at your case and decide what your next move should be. We urge you to proceed with caution at this stage and ensure that you follow the careful advice that is passed on. Clearly as your workplace is also your sponsor, you need to ensure that you maintain the best relationship possible.
If I complain will I be kicked out of the country?
No, but that isn't to say that your employer cannot make things hard for you. We don't mean for this to scare you, but it is a potential reality of the situation. We always urge people to proceed with caution as it is not unheard of for companies to seek retribution if they feel that a member of staff is working against them. This is why we urge a collaborative approach in the beginning and that you should treat it as if there has clearly been a misunderstanding. Taking this approach will ensure that you do not ruffle feathers and hold yourself professionally.
Please do not think that we want you to lay down and just accept the situation, far from it. If there is a case to answer, you are totally within your rights to pursue recourse. You must though understand that in the future any action you take is likely to be remembered and your long-term ability to remain in the business may be affected. Whilst it would be unwholly fair for your employer to take this action, it isn't that difficult for them to sack you - once they do this they are then duty bound to inform the Home Office within 10 days and you could face visa curtailment. While you cannot be kicked out of the country for complaining, it could put you at some risk. You can mitigate this risk by getting in touch with our immigration specialists who can help to guide you.
Can my employer threaten to get me deported?
No they cannot. Doing this would be wholly unfair and would give you grounds to claim against them. If you work for an employer such as this, you may wish to consider moving to an alternative Tier 2 Sponsor Licence holding company. While you are tied to your current employer on your current visa, you are able to apply for a job with another Tier 2 Sponsor Licence holder who can provide you with another Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) which you can use to apply for a new visa. Once approved, you can then leave your current employer.
Where can I get more help?
If you need help with an employment or immigration query then please get in touch. Our experienced immigration solicitors have a wealth of knowledge and experience and can help in almost any situation. Do not suffer in silence, get in touch today and let us see if we can help you to resolve your worries.