A former employee bought a claim to the Employment Relations Authority (ERA) about deductions being made from his final pay without his consent.

The employer provided accommodation for the employee. The employee’s Employment Agreement set out that deductions will be made from the employee’s wages and holiday pay if there were damage to the property not attributable to fair wear and tear, or if the property required professional cleaning.

When the employee left his position, he anticipated the value of damages deducted from his pay would not exceed $800. However, the accommodation was left in an unacceptable state which required more than $3000 to be deducted for repairs and cleaning. The employee claimed this deduction was made without consultation and without his consent.

Under our employment laws, deductions from wages can only be made with the written consent of the employee and with prior consultation.

The ERA found there was consent by way of the employee signing the Employment Agreement which contained the deductions clause. The ERA also found that there was consultation as text messages between the employee and his employer showed the employee was aware his holiday pay would not be released before his employer obtained quotes for the damage to the accommodation.

The ERA further stated that non-acceptance of an amount in excess of what was anticipated would not count as a withdrawal of consent for the deduction. In fact, reference to an anticipated amount shows the employee was aware that deductions were to take place.

The employee could have withdrawn his consent in writing but did not do so in this can. Therefore the prior written consent and consultation at the time were sufficient for the employer to make the deductions.


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