I work at a pub which is owned by a chain in the UK, and I have a signed contract with them. My manager has now told staff that if we make any mistakes made on the till, we will have to pay it back through our wages. I did my research and I found out that we should be protected from any pay deductions by law unless stated in the contract. Reading the contract states:

It is agreed that the Company has the right at any time during your employment, or in the event of termination, to deduct from wages any overpayment made and/or monies owed to the company including (but not limited to) any outstanding holiday pay, outstanding loans, advances, relocation expenses and the cost of repairing any damage or replacing any loss to Company property caused by you.

There is no mention of anything related to mistakes made on the till. they have the phrase 'not limited to', so can they just include whatever else they feel like? They have also docked an hours wage from me because I didn't close the pub as nicely as they wanted to one evening.

  • 2
    I can't comment on the legality, but I certainly have a lot of friends who have have wages deduced when, for example, they have given wrong change or forgotten to take a card for the tab (and then the person hasn't paid the tab). Is that the sort of thing you're asking about? I.e. this with a direct and countable impact to the company?
    – Gamora
    Nov 11, 2019 at 15:51
  • 6
    Money shorted at the till sounds like a legitimate damage or "loss to Company" to me.
    – spuck
    Nov 11, 2019 at 16:35
  • 4
    Company money is definitely company property, so short tills would count. However, They have also docked an hours wage from me because I didn't close the pub as nicely as they wanted to one evening, that is absolutely illegal but you would have to elaborate more on that Nov 11, 2019 at 17:48
  • 1
    Yes, that last one sounds like wage theft. Nov 12, 2019 at 3:16
  • How can your employer pinpoint you as the person making mistakes at the till? They almost certainly can't. Even if you had sole access to the till (unlikely) there is no guarantee that the money was counted correctly both before and after. Nov 12, 2019 at 21:06

2 Answers 2


The situation in the UK with regard to deductions for mistakes is somewhat complicated. Here is a page that discusses the legalities of it and another page by ACAS.

What is certain is three things:

  1. They cannot reduce your wages below minimum wages for any reason
  2. They cannot deduct more than 10% of your wages for mistakes (though they can deduct 10% repeatedly until the amount of the mistake is reached)
  3. They can only deduct wages for mistakes if you agreed to this in writing beforehand

The clause you quote above does not seem to me to cover this, as it refers to property, but I am not a lawyer.

You might find they can also deduct wages only if they can show that it was you who made the mistake.

In the UK, the Citizens Advice Bureau is an excellent source of free advice, and a great place to start your consultation. You may need a lawyer for something more specific.

  • Wouldn't currency be considered property? It seems like "replacing any loss to Company property caused by you" ought to cover money lost or stolen from the till if OP was found to be the "cause."
    – Lumberjack
    Nov 12, 2019 at 19:45
  • @Lumberjack the contract isn't a useful guide here. It almost certainly contains clauses that are not legally correct/enforcable. Nov 12, 2019 at 21:11

I don't know about UK, but as an example in America I seen cases where waiters/waitresses are told to pay the tab of anyone who gets up and leaves without paying. Doesn't matter if it is due to malice or if it is simple forgetting.

One thing is unclear though on who gets access to the registry. If anyone can open it, I would be sure to raise concerns over that, especially if suddenly a large sum was missing.

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