Legal rights to rate of pay specified in offer letter?

My son took a job last November and was formally offered an hourly rate of £9.18 in his offer letter - he and his employer then signed a contract of employment, which states that his contractual rate of pay is specified in the offer letter. 

After some bumpy months where he was paying emergency tax (and then had it refunded when his tax code was sorted) he’s now discovered that he’s only been paid £7 per hour since he started. 

Upon querying with his manager they advised that there was a mistake in his contract/offer letter and the correct rate of pay is £7 for under 18s (he’s 17). The manager advised last weekend that they would take the matter up with payroll but he’s heard nothing since.

Where does my son stand in terms of his legal rights to receive the £9.18 per hour specified in his offer letter? Can they just print a new contract, make him sign it, and refuse to pay the difference? 
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Comments

  • Savvy_Sue
    Savvy_Sue Posts: 46,018 Forumite
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    It's tricky, because until he has at least two years' employment, he may not want to assert his rights too strongly: if he is perceived as a trouble maker (or at least more trouble than he is worth) then it is really easy to get rid of him, and he'll have no comeback. 

    So a few questions for him:
    • Would he have accepted the job at £7 per hour?
    • If they don't increase it, will he leave on principle?
    • How soon is he 18? although see below
    • Has he joined a union? https://www.tuc.org.uk/join-a-union
    • Are there other 17 year olds there? What's happened to them? 
    • Does he realise the legal minimum he COULD be paid is £5.28 ph? at least from April 2023
    From https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/minimum-wage-rates-for-2023

    Details

    The Government has announced the rates of the National Living Wage (NLW) and National Minimum Wage (NMW) which will come into force from April 2023. In doing so, it has accepted in full the recommendations of the Low Pay Commission.

    The rates which will apply from 1 April 2023 are as follows:

    Rate from April 2023Annual increase (£)Annual increase (per cent)
    National Living Wage£10.420.929.7
    21-22 Year Old Rate£10.181.0010.9
    18-20 Year Old Rate£7.490.669.7
    16-17 Year Old Rate£5.280.479.7
    Apprentice Rate£5.280.479.7
    Accommodation Offset£9.100.404.6
    Signature removed for peace of mind
  • Thanks and yes, we’re mindful that he still has to work there (he can’t afford to leave), so won’t want to create too much of a fuss and make life difficult for himself! 

    He turns 18 in November, in 8 months or so. No, he hasn’t joined a union but again, would that just contribute to being perceived as a troublemaker? 

    And yes, there is at least one other 17 year old there, who has had the same experience and is owed even more (due to working more hours). 
  • Marcon
    Marcon Posts: 10,641 Forumite
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    andbeck said:
    Thanks and yes, we’re mindful that he still has to work there (he can’t afford to leave), so won’t want to create too much of a fuss and make life difficult for himself! 


    I think pragmatism has to rule the day, although I have great sympathy for your disappointed son. Nobody can 'make' him sig a new contract, but he needs the job, so that needs to guide his decision process.

    andbeck said:

    He turns 18 in November, in 8 months or so. No, he hasn’t joined a union but again, would that just contribute to being perceived as a troublemaker? 


    His employer wouldn't know unless the sub is deducted from his wages.


    Googling on your question might have been both quicker and easier, if you're only after simple facts rather than opinions!  
  • TELLIT01
    TELLIT01 Posts: 16,461 Forumite
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    There probably is a legal right to demand the salary as stated on the offer letter.  There is also a legal right for the employer to terminate employment without stating the reason if a person has been employed by them for less than 2 years.
  • Grumpy_chap
    Grumpy_chap Posts: 14,880 Forumite
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    andbeck said:
    My son took a job last November and was formally offered an hourly rate of £9.18 in his offer letter - he and his employer then signed a contract of employment, which states that his contractual rate of pay is specified in the offer letter. 

    After some bumpy months where he was paying emergency tax (and then had it refunded when his tax code was sorted) he’s now discovered that he’s only been paid £7 per hour since he started. 

    Upon querying with his manager they advised that there was a mistake in his contract/offer letter and the correct rate of pay is £7 for under 18s (he’s 17). The manager advised last weekend that they would take the matter up with payroll but he’s heard nothing since.

    Where does my son stand in terms of his legal rights to receive the £9.18 per hour specified in his offer letter? Can they just print a new contract, make him sign it, and refuse to pay the difference? 
    Savvy_Sue said:
    It's tricky, because until he has at least two years' employment, he may not want to assert his rights too strongly: if he is perceived as a trouble maker (or at least more trouble than he is worth) then it is really easy to get rid of him, and he'll have no comeback. 

    So a few questions for him:
    • Would he have accepted the job at £7 per hour?
    • If they don't increase it, will he leave on principle?
    • How soon is he 18? although see below
    • Has he joined a union? https://www.tuc.org.uk/join-a-union
    • Are there other 17 year olds there? What's happened to them? 
    • Does he realise the legal minimum he COULD be paid is £5.28 ph? at least from April 2023
    From https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/minimum-wage-rates-for-2023

    Details

    The Government has announced the rates of the National Living Wage (NLW) and National Minimum Wage (NMW) which will come into force from April 2023. In doing so, it has accepted in full the recommendations of the Low Pay Commission.

    The rates which will apply from 1 April 2023 are as follows:

    Rate from April 2023Annual increase (£)Annual increase (per cent)
    National Living Wage£10.420.929.7
    21-22 Year Old Rate£10.181.0010.9
    18-20 Year Old Rate£7.490.669.7
    16-17 Year Old Rate£5.280.479.7
    Apprentice Rate£5.280.479.7
    Accommodation Offset£9.100.404.6
    Just to be sure, did the offer letter state an hourly rate of pay, and nothing more?
    OR, did the offer letter read along the lines of "at the relevant NMW rate, currently £9.18 per hour"?
    £9.18 seems to be the current rate for age 21 - 22:
    https://www.acas.org.uk/national-minimum-wage-entitlement


    If the offer letter read along the lines of "at the relevant NMW rate..." then the quoted rate for the incorrect age group could be deemed as simply an error.
  • TELLIT01
    TELLIT01 Posts: 16,461 Forumite
    First Anniversary First Post Name Dropper PPI Party Pooper

    If the offer letter read along the lines of "at the relevant NMW rate..." then the quoted rate for the incorrect age group could be deemed as simply an error.
    The OP states that the offer letter stated £9.18 per hour.  There was nothing to suggest 'relevant NMW rate' was mentioned.

  • Savvy_Sue
    Savvy_Sue Posts: 46,018 Forumite
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    Marcon said:
    andbeck said:

    He turns 18 in November, in 8 months or so. No, he hasn’t joined a union but again, would that just contribute to being perceived as a troublemaker? 


    His employer wouldn't know unless the sub is deducted from his wages.
    Which I would never personally recommend ... for that very reason. 

    We did have a manager asking someone involved in payroll how many union members we had. That person had no idea, so they asked me. I said that information was not available through payroll because no member had asked to pay subs that way. 
    Signature removed for peace of mind
  • Grumpy_chap
    Grumpy_chap Posts: 14,880 Forumite
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    TELLIT01 said:

    If the offer letter read along the lines of "at the relevant NMW rate..." then the quoted rate for the incorrect age group could be deemed as simply an error.
    The OP states that the offer letter stated £9.18 per hour.  There was nothing to suggest 'relevant NMW rate' was mentioned.

    Assuming, of course, that the OP stated all facts in full.  Mine was a genuine and well intentioned question.
  • MalMonroe
    MalMonroe Posts: 5,783 Forumite
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    Hi, I would advise your son to contact acas.  https://www.acas.org.uk/contact

    I know that employees are normally required to work somewhere for two years before they have any proper rights BUT I once took an employer to Employment Tribunal at the recruitment stage - i.e. their discriminatory action caused my actions which of course meant I didn't even want to work for them. A settlement was reached before the case actually went to court but it did demonstrate that if you feel you have been unfairly treated at any stage of employment, then you can do something about it.

    Acas can advise further - they helped me and I recommend them unreservedly. Obviously your son won't be wanting to take anyone to Tribunal but acas can tell him what his rights are.
    Please note - taken from the Forum Rules and amended for my own personal use (with thanks) : It is up to you to investigate, check, double-check and check yet again before you make any decisions or take any action based on any information you glean from any of my posts. Although I do carry out careful research before posting and never intend to mislead or supply out-of-date or incorrect information, please do not rely 100% on what you are reading. Verify everything in order to protect yourself as you are responsible for any action you consequently take.
  • Marvel1
    Marvel1 Posts: 7,171 Forumite
    Name Dropper First Post First Anniversary
    Considering they can get rid for under 2 years service, I wouldnt waste paying for a union.
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