Background: I work in the UK in an independent shop as a retail assistant.

I worked part time for a few months while studying, but have now been working full time for the last 3 months. I have never received a contract, although have been promised one for the last 3 months. I have been receiving cash payments on an irregular basis. I know this was stupid but the person was a friend and assumed they would be honest.

My boss is saying that they have paid me far more than they actually have, I know this as we have a book where all of my working days and the cash paid to me is recorded. My boss is now saying that other amounts paid to me are written in other places when I was never aware of this. The difference in pay is almost double, now I'm 100% sure they are not telling the truth and are avoiding paying me what I am owed.

Legally, do I have a leg to stand on if I were to challenge my boss with the discrepancies in pay? I appreciate any help.

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    Any legal questions should be asked to your attorney. By the way: Working without a contract is something you should never do. Also between friends. In fact especially between friends. – Philipp Mar 1 '16 at 18:10
  • Ouch. Sounds to me like you're out of luck. – AndreiROM Mar 1 '16 at 18:52
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    A life lesson is that any company that pays cash under the table is by definition not honest. – HLGEM Mar 1 '16 at 20:48
  • "I have never received a contract, although have been promised one for the last 3 months." - If you want to continue working there, you should say you cannot work anymore until they give you the written contract. – Brandin Mar 2 '16 at 13:10

One. Do you have evidence that you worked there? 2. Does your boss have evidence that he or she paid you? 3. In case he or she has, does he or she have evidence that they paid your national insurance contributions, and that they paid your tax? Likely not.

If you have evidence that you worked, then you can write a nice letter asking them to pay you any outstanding money, and send you your P45, within the next 14 days. You asking them to send you your P45 is a major problem for them that should convince them to pay you what you are owed.

You might have one friend less when this is over.

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  • The only evidence of anything work related is in this one book. Literally the amount paid has been written in pen and the date written alongside it, as well as who worked on what day. However, my boss is saying that they have another location (on their phone, conveniently) where there is a separate record of what I have been paid. They have not paid anything towards my national insurance contributions, tax or pension. Thanks for your reply. – Anonymous Mar 1 '16 at 18:26
  • You mean nobody ever say you in the shop? Any customer seeing you in the store would be evidence that you worked there. – gnasher729 Mar 1 '16 at 18:37
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    I don't think you are following what gnasher is telling you. If they failed to pay your national insurance contributions and tax then they have a lot bigger problems than a dispute with you over cash payment. You just need to have proof you did work there and make them aware that if you are forced to pursue this then some stuff may come to the surface that is not good for them. – paparazzo Mar 1 '16 at 19:02
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    Ask for a complete statement of what they think they have paid you. It's absolutely your right to have that. If you can, get a copy of that book, or at least the pages with your name on it. Take a photo with your phone. Get names of customers who will have seen you working in the shop. gnasher is probably right that even threatening to get the law involved will scare them because they've been paying you illegally under the table. But be very sure you are right, because there is no going back to a friendship once you've threatened to sue someone. – DJClayworth Mar 1 '16 at 19:04
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    This answer is a reasonable response, and asks sensible questions. It would benefit from a) explaining why asking for a P45 is a problem for the employer (it is likely that the employer has not paid PAYE/NICs), and b) recommending to the employee that they document hours worked, dates, and amount owing. @Anonymous: If they paid in cash, their own records are of minimal value as evidence unless they can demonstrate you signed to confirm receipt of the specific amounts. – user52889 Mar 1 '16 at 21:10

This is why gangs rob drug dealers, the drug dealer cannot go to the law because they'll get themselves in trouble. In your case both you and your employer are in a grey (if not black) area, and there is very little you can do.

Move on and find a new job and do it properly.

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