Ever got to the end of the month and found that your pay packet is a little lighter than it should be?
It’s not a pleasant situation to be in – but whether you’re employed by a company or working for yourself, there are things that you can do to reclaim your cash.
If you’ve been made redundant
After a redundancy, there are certain rules about how much your old employer needs to pay you based on your age and length of service.
They should also give you notice, or payment in lieu of notice. This can quickly break down, though, if your employer is insolvent.
This is what happens when a business can’t afford to pay its debts, and can also mean that they’re unable to pay ex-employees.
In this case you may be able to apply to the government for outstanding payments or redundancy pay.
If you work for an employer
The first thing to do would be to raise the issue directly with your employer. You can do this informally, especially if you think that there has been an honest mistake, and they may be able to rectify it with no further action required.
HR or the payroll team are a good option if you need to escalate it further. Assuming that you and your employer are able to agree on the fact that you’ve been underpaid, and agree on a solution, you shouldn’t need to go any further.
However, if they don’t rectify the issue then it’s time to raise a grievance. This is a way of formally bringing the issue to your employer, and you can get advice on how to do it from Citizen’s Advice.
Ultimately, you may have to escalate to an employment tribunal – Citizen’s Advice will be able to give you further information if things get to that point.
If you work for yourself
As a self-employed professional, it’s important to ensure that you have a contract for any work that you carry out.
Without that, any payment issues can quickly descend into he-said-she-said situations, and you may not be able to reach a resolution.
Make sure that you send a professional invoice, and be aware that some companies will require you to send the invoice in a specific format.
Sometimes, simply putting things into a more official format is all it takes to nudge a reluctant client. You should also have predetermined times for sending a reminder – for instance, two weeks and four weeks after it is due.
If nothing else works and you have a valid contract, you should be able to take your client to small claims court. It’s very important to make sure that the amount that you’re claiming for is more than the expense of actually going to court.
Otherwise, you might have to chalk it up to a bad experience. One final pointer to remember: if your client stops paying, you stop working.
Don’t continue to take their assignments on empty promises that you’ll be paid later. Those words won’t pay the bills, so find a client who will!