Payment of Wages in UK Law
Delaney v Staples (trading as De Montfort Recruitment)
But it is important to approach such definition bearing in mind the normal meaning of that word. I agree with the Court of Appeal that the essential characteristic of wages is that they are consideration for work done or to be done under a contract of employment. If a payment is not referable to an obligation on the employee under a subsisting contract of employment to render his services it does not in my judgment fall within the ordinary meaning of the word "wages".
(1) An employer gives proper notice of termination to his employee, tells the employee that he need not work until the termination date and gives him the wages attributable to the notice period in a lump sum. In this case (commonly call "garden leave") there is no breach of contract by the employer. The employment continues until the expiry of the notice: the lump sum payment is simply advance payment of wages.
(2) The contract of employment provides expressly that the employment may be terminated either by notice or, on payment of a sum in lieu of notice, summarily. In such a case if the employer summarily dismisses the employee he is not in breach of contract provided that he makes the payment in lieu. But the payment in lieu is not a payment of wages in the ordinary sense since it is not a payment for work to be done under the contract of employment.
(3) At the end of the employment, the employer and the employee agree that the employment is to terminate forthwith on payment of a sum in lieu of notice. Again, the employer is not in breach of contract by dismissing summarily and the payment in lieu is not stictly wages since it is not remuneration for work done during the continuance of the employment.
(4) Without the agreement of the employee, the employer summarily dismisses the employee and tenders a payment in lieu of proper notice. However, the summary dismissal is effective to put an end to the employment relationship, whether or not it unilaterally discharges the contract of employment. It follows that the payment in lieu is not a payment of wages in the ordinary sense since it is not a payment for work done under the contract of employment.
Miles v Wakefield Metropolitan District Council
The employer pays for work and the worker works for his wages. In an action by a worker to recover his pay he must allege and be ready to prove that he worked or was willing to work. In the present case the plaintiff disentitled himself for his salary for Saturday morning because he declined to work on Saturday morning in accordance with his duty.
Addison v Babcock F.A.T.A. Ltd
I would uphold the principle, firstly, because it is not shown to have worked unfairly or in a manner contrary to the intention of Parliament in the limited form in which it was stated and applied in the cases cited.
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