Is an employer liable if it inadvertently fails to pay an employee's wages?

Although technically a one-off or occasional failure to pay wages is a breach of contract, it is not normally serious enough to entitle an employee to resign and claim that he or she has been constructively dismissed (provided that the employer takes steps as soon as possible to rectify the mistake and make the payment). However, because it is an implied term of every employee's contract of employment that the employer pays his or her wages, an employer that persistently fails to comply with this obligation may be faced with an action in the county court for breach of contract. Alternatively an employee may bring a claim in the employment tribunal for unlawful deductions from wages under s.23(1) of the Employment Rights Act 1996.