Advice Column: Xmas Pay

Thursday 2nd February 2023

As part of the Citizens Advice Exeter and The Express and Echo weekly advice column this week we focus on what to do if you don’t think you have received the correct pay .

 My employer asked me to work extra hours in the lead up to Christmas as it was really busy at work. Now that I have been paid I don’t think I have been paid for all the extra hours I worked. What should I do?

Many workers will have put in extra hours in the run up to Christmas, and it’s important to make sure you’re paid for it all. Get together evidence of your completed hours. If you haven’t got your own record of your hours, you could use things like:

  • old rotas
  • clocking in records
  • emails from your employer confirming your shifts

Once you have got together your evidence, try speaking informally to your employer. You could also try speaking to your human resources or payroll department, if there is one. Ask them to explain anything you don’t understand on your payslip or why you haven’t been paid. If you disagree with anything, explain why.

If your employer has made a genuine mistake, ask them to pay you the money you’re owed straight away. You shouldn’t have to wait until your next pay day.

If you and your employer can’t agree on how much you should have been paid, you can challenge them. You should act quickly – it’ll be much harder to get your money back after 3 months from the date the problem arose.

If you’re not getting anywhere, consider the following further steps to get what you’re owed:

  1. Your trade union might be able to negotiate with your employer for you. If you’re not in a trade union, find out if there’s one at your workplace that you can join. You might find details in your staff handbook, intranet or on notice boards at work.
  2. Check if your employer has a formal grievance procedure you can use. Even if they haven’t, you can still raise a grievance – for example by writing a letter. Explain why you think you haven’t been paid enough and include copies of any evidence.
  3. If your grievance doesn’t get the result you want, you can take your employer to a tribunal. You’ll have to notify ACAS first. ACAS is an organisation that provides independent support to help sort out employment disputes. They’ll see if your employer will agree to a process called ‘early conciliation’ – a way to resolve disputes without going to a tribunal. The quickest way to start is to fill in the early conciliation form on the ACAS website. Or you can call ACAS on 0300 123 1100
  4. Your last resort is to take your employer to a tribunal. Think carefully before you go ahead. You usually have to make a claim to the tribunal within 3 months of your employment ending or the problem happening. You need to have already notified ACAS, gone through the early conciliation process and got an early conciliation certificate. It is best to get advice before proceeding to a tribunal.

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The information contained in these articles does not constitute advice. Citizens Advice Exeter and The Express and Echo accept no liability for the information published. Citizens Advice Exeter is unable to respond to individual requests for advice through these columns. Copyright Citizens Advice. For the most up-to-date information, please visit