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Schools that won't pay - any options to take action?

 
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frogandeagle



Joined: 29 May 2009
Posts: 15
Location: Australia

PostPosted: Tue Jun 12, 2012 5:40 pm    Post subject: Schools that won't pay - any options to take action? Reply with quote

Hello there,

I'm new to London and have recently left a shoddy school for a very good position at another school, but I've had trouble getting all of the pay I am owed (I had been hired as self-employed). I've been patiently requesting payment for two months but enough is enough.

I won't mention the school and it's not a lot of money that I'm owed, but I've since found out that other teachers have been similarly ripped-off. Based on principle, I would like to do something about it if possible.

I know this is probably a common problem in London and there isn't a lot I can do but I'm wondering if anyone has had a similar experience and can offer any advice?

Happy to give more details in a PM...

Thanks for your time! Smile
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PattyFlipper



Joined: 14 Nov 2007
Posts: 563

PostPosted: Wed Jun 13, 2012 4:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Take action against them through the Small Claims Court. You don't need a lawyer (they are in fact discouraged), and the procedure is intended to be very layman-friendly. Costs for initiating the claim are reasonably low, and will be added to the amount they owe you (provided your claim succeeds).

More information here:

http://www.adviceguide.org.uk/england/law_e/law_legal_system_e/law_taking_legal_action_e/small_claims.htm

http://www.direct.gov.uk/en/MoneyTaxAndBenefits/ManagingDebt/Makingacourtclaimformoney/DG_195118

You will need to send them a 'seven day letter before action', i.e. send them a recorded delivery letter (NOT an email) stating the basis of your claim against them, and that court action will follow in 7 days if payment is not received. (You can google for specimen letters.) Make sure you keep the proof of postage/delivery.

They will probably ignore your letter, in which case you can initiate the claim via the Money Claim Online website (after the 7 days has expired), without having to visit a County Court office in person:

https://www.moneyclaim.gov.uk/

Help with the process is available on the above site and the other links I posted.

Unless they are really obtuse, issuing the claim should be enough to get them to pay up. I can't imagine they would be able to raise much of a defence against non-payment of wages, and the courts generally take a dim view of such behaviour. You can also claim interest on the money owed at a rate of 8% per annum.

Good luck.

NB: You will need to know how the school is trading to issue the claim; i.e. are they a limited company, partnership or sole-trader? They are legally obliged to display this information on their website and letterheads.
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GriffinParka



Joined: 16 Dec 2010
Posts: 41
Location: West London

PostPosted: Wed Jun 13, 2012 9:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'd suggest you contact Sandy McMAnus, also known as 'The Tefl Tradesman'. Just google it!
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frogandeagle



Joined: 29 May 2009
Posts: 15
Location: Australia

PostPosted: Thu Jun 14, 2012 9:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you both very much for a quick and helpful response!!! That's exactly the kind of information I need and it's encouraging to think that there is something I can do.

I will start looking into those steps and taking action. We need to stand up for ourselves and not be pushed around.

Thank you so much!

Frogandeagle
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Dedicated



Joined: 18 May 2007
Posts: 748
Location: UK

PostPosted: Thu Jun 14, 2012 9:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

frogandeagle,

You should also inform the tax department about them. You can do this anonymously and the tax department have to respond.( My brother is a chief inspector of taxes and says you must shop them).

Write to : Inspector of Taxes
HM Revenue and Customs
Southgate House
Stevenage
Herts
SG1 1HL


Also inform the dept responsible for the self-employed:

Queensway House
East Kilbride
Glasgow
G79 1AA

Any query will be referred to the appropriate regional office.

I only ever had a problem over being self-employed and being paid about 10 years ago, and the tax department sorted it out quickly in my favour.
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PattyFlipper



Joined: 14 Nov 2007
Posts: 563

PostPosted: Fri Jun 15, 2012 9:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Excellent advice, Dedicated. I should have written in my previous post that these cowboy TEFL outfits are usually up to all kinds of other shady practices which will not withstand the light of official scrutiny.

Putting teachers on 'self-employed' status is a ruse used by bottom-feeder schools to evade their obligations under current employment and fiscal legislation, and HMRC in particular will not usually swallow it. If the OP was exclusively or primarily engaged in providing services to this particular school and was not invoicing other clients during the period of engagement, then this is not considered to be self-employment for tax purposes. The employer is therefore liable for income tax and employer's National Insurance contributions on monies paid.

Hit these shysters where it is going to hurt them the most - their wallets!
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