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Your pay has special extra protection and in some situations your employer may be prevented from taking money out of your pay even if this wouldn't be breaching the contract.
If you can't sort the problem out with your employer, you can decide to take legal action. Think carefully before taking any legal action against your employer. Ask yourself what you want to achieve and how much it will cost.
Remember that you'll only get compensation (called 'damages') if you can prove real financial loss (for example, if your employer doesn't pay your wages) - there's no compensation for distress or hurt feelings. Because damages will only reflect your actual loss they're based on net pay (that is, after tax), not gross pay (before tax). Also remember that taking legal action might prompt your employer to take out a counter claim against you if they feel they have one.
If you are a member of a trade union, it would be a good idea to speak with them before taking any legal action, as some unions provide a legal advice service for their members. Otherwise, you could talk to a solicitor, or discuss your case with a Citizens Advice Bureau adviser.
To make a breach of contract claim through an Employment Tribunal, your employment must have ended. There is also a cap of £25,000 on what a Tribunal can award (if you wish to claim more you cannot first seek £25,000 from a Tribunal and then go on to seek the balance from a civil court). There are restrictions on the types of claim that can be made (for example, you cannot make a personal injury claim through the Tribunal) and there is a three month time limit on making a claim.
Breach of contract by an employee
If you breach your contract, your employer should try to settle the matter with you informally, but they can sue you for damages in the same way you can sue them.
Damages are only awarded for financial loss (for example, if you don't give enough notice, damages might be for the extra cost of hiring temporary staff to do your work, or for lost revenue. You would still have the right to wages you earned before you left, plus pay for untaken statutory holiday).
The most common breaches of contract by an employee are when you quit without giving (or working) proper notice, or when you go to work for a competitor when your contract doesn't allow it.
Is it breach of contract to dock your pay for being persistently late?
You won't necessarily get paid for time that you're not at work but your employer should be careful about imposing extra penalties on top of this. If there's nothing in your contract that allows your employer to do so, they must pay you what you've earned and then decide whether to sue for any money they've lost because of your lateness.
Your employer always pays you late - is this breach of contract?
Not paying at the agreed time will often be a breach of contract. If you can prove you suffered a financial loss (for example, having to pay overdraft fees), you can claim this back as damages. Talk to your employer first. If it keeps happening, you could try to get a court injunction to stop them repeating this breach.
A minor breach, a partial breach or an immaterial breach, occurs when the non-breaching party is unentitled to an order for performance of its obligations, but only to collect the actual amount of their damages. For example, suppose a homeowner hires a contractor to install new plumbing and insists that the pipes, which will ultimately be sealed behind the walls, be red. The contractor instead uses blue pipes that function just as well. Although the contractor breached the literal terms of the contract, the homeowner can only recover the amount of his damages. Since no damages were inflicted, the homeowner receives nothing. (See Jacob & Youngs v. Kent, on which this example is based.)
 Material breach
A material breach is any failure to perform that permits the other party to the contract to either compel performance, or collect damages because of the breach. If the contractor in the above example had been instructed to use copper pipes, and instead used iron pipes which would not last as long as the copper pipes would have, the homeowner can recover the cost of actually correcting the breach - taking out the iron pipes and replacing them with copper pipes.This is also known as a partial breach
The Restatement (Second) of Contracts lists the following criteria to determine whether a specific failure constitutes a breach:
In determining whether a failure to render or to offer performance is material, the following circumstances are significant: (a) the extent to which the injured party will be deprived of the benefit which he reasonably expected; (b) the extent to which the injured party can be adequately compensated for the part of that benefit of which he will be deprived (c) the extent to which the party failing to perform or to offer to perform will suffer forfeiture; (d) the likelihood that the party failing to perform or to offer to perform will cure his failure, taking account of all the circumstances including any reasonable assurances; (e) the extent to which the behavior of the party failing to perform or to offer to perform comports with standards of good faith and fair dealing.
American Law Institute, Restatement (Second) of Contracts § 241 (1981)
 Fundamental breach
A fundamental breach (or repudiatory breach) is a breach so fundamental that it permits the aggrieved party to terminate performance of the contract, in addition to entitling that party to sue for damages.
 Anticipatory breach
A breach by anticipatory repudiation (or simply anticipatory breach) is an unequivocal indication that the party will not perform when performance is due, or a situation in which future non-performance is inevitable. An anticipatory breach gives the non-breaching party the option to treat such a breach as immediate, and, if repudiatory, to terminate the contract and sue for damages (without waiting for the breach to actually take place).
 Limits on Remedies and Damages
Typically, the judicial remedy for breach of contract is monetary damages. See damages. Where the failure to perform cannot be adequately redressed by money damage, the court may enter an equity decree awarding an injunction or specific performance.
The aggrieved person has a duty to mitigate or reduce damages by reasonable means. Liquidated Damages may be limited to a specific amount. In the United States, punitive damages are generally not awarded for breach of contract but may be awarded for other causes of action in a lawsuit. Limitation of Liability (Exculpatory) clauses. [Private agreement is permissible.] [Invalid when public interest is involved and there is willful conduct or gross negligence.]