Can I be suspended from work without pay?

by Redmans Solicitors on November 7, 2012

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If you’ve been suspended from work or think that you may be suspended from work then one of the first things that you’ll want to find out (apart from, obviously, what the potential consequences of your suspension are) is whether you’re being suspended on pay or not. This post will address this issue and offer a brief explanation of the actions that an employer can take relating to pay if you’re being suspended. It will therefore address:

  1. Can your employer suspend you?
  2. Can your employer refuse to pay you during your suspension?
  3. What should you do if your employer refuses to pay you during your suspension?

Can your employer suspend you?

If you have committed what could be considered to be an act of gross misconduct then your employer may wish to suspend you pending an investigation. This may be appropriate if you could pose a threat (business or physical) to clients or customers, or if your employer believes it would be difficult to carry out an investigation with you present. Your employer is therefore prima facie entitled to suspend you for a reasonable period of time for these reasons. However, your employer must make a reasonable decision to suspend you and should consider alternatives to suspension prior to suspending you. It should also not be seen to be a punishment in the circumstances. Your employer should ensure that the period of suspension is as short as possible and inform you if the suspension period needs to be increased.

Can your employer refuse to pay you during your suspension?

Unless the employer has reserved the contractual right to suspend you and withhold pay while doing so you should continue to receive your normal pay and contractual benefits during the suspension period. However, you are not so well protected if a portion of your wages are composed of a bonus or commission. If this is the case then any claim for damages for loss of such wages during the suspension period will probably fail unless you can demonstrate a contractual right to such.

Read more: How to write a grievance letter (useful  reading)

Template: Example grievance letter

What should you do if your employer refuses to pay you during your suspension?

If your employer refuses to pay you during your suspension period then you should file a formal grievance relating to this issue. You may also wish to take legal advice from a specialist employment law solicitor at this point. If your employer continues to refuse to pay you then, in certain circumstances, you may be entitled to resign from your employment and claim constructive dismissal. For example, if you had been suspended on false allegations and your employer then refused to pay you during the suspension period then it could be argued that your employer had committed a fundamental breach of contract (which entitled you to resign as a result).

Redmans Solicitors are London employment lawyers

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