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How to Collect Unpaid Wages

Unpaid wages can be a real pain in the neck. Whether you are a freelance worker and your client is taking the mickey, or your employer is refusing to pay you your proper overtime rates, being owed money that you have earned is no fun at all.

It can cause all sorts of complications, from having to dip into your overdraft (and then struggling with the repayments month on month) to getting behind on your rent. And when an emergency occurs, you won’t have enough to cover it, as you were expecting to be in the possession of a bit more money. So if your boiler goes, for instance, you might find yourself shivering at home for a few weeks.

Thankfully, there are a few steps you can take to try and recoup your losses and get those unpaid wages to settle nicely in your bank account. Sadly, however, it can be quite tricky in getting it all sorted, but we’re on hand to give you some useful tips!

File a Request Form

This is always the first thing you should do if your employer is withholding wages. Get hold of a request form for your money, and file it with your company. Most businesses will have a set procedure already in place, but these may differ from firm to firm.

You might have to speak with your supervisor, or you may simply be required to fill out a form. Make sure you get a copy of the completed form, as you may need to use this as evidence later on.

Send a Certified Letter

This step is simple – write a letter to your employer, specifying the amount of money which is due, as well as the date you wish it to be paid by. Get it sent by registered post so that you can have proof of delivery: this eliminates the chance of plausible deniability.

Although this is not exactly a foolproof way of getting your wages back, it provides clear proof that your employer was at least aware of your situation.

Get a Lawyer

Yikes, that escalated quickly. Yes, if you employer still has failed to get in touch with you about your unpaid wages, you should start looking for a lawyer, particularly one who specialises in the ins and outs of employment law.

You can garner some information from, or you can approach some law firms for yourself. We find the latter method to be a good one, as most reputable firms should offer you an initial consultation free of charge. Though this meeting will probably only last around thirty minutes, you can use it to pick and choose the solicitor you trust the most.

You will end up filing a small-claims lawsuit, and may have to go to court. You may get lucky and find that the mention of a potential lawsuit is enough to scare your employer into paying up, but this won’t always be the case.

Try going to your local Citizens Advice Bureau for some information, too – this is both confidential and free, so you really have nothing to lose.

About the author

This guest post was researched, written and created by Tom Dove who specilises in writing legal pieces mainly around employment law.

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