Employers have a duty to pay
wages to an employee and a failure to pay wages that are agreed and due to an
employee, is regarded as a breach of their contract of employment. This implied
term is usually set out as an express term, however, if the contract does not
state this or has incorrect pay on this, then legislation will imply a term
that the claimant is entitled to at least the minimum wages for the work
provided as demonstrated in Driver V Air India 20111.
An employee has a right to resign in these circumstances and claim for
There is no general obligation
for an employer to provide work for an employee as long as their wages are paid
but there are some exceptions to this. Firstly, do their earnings depend on the
work performed by the employee and do they require work to maintain those
skills. Secondly, if an employee holds a senior position and not being able to
work can lead to potential loss of publicity or reputation.
Employers are also expected to
take reasonable care of an employee, not just physical care, also potential
psychiatric harm such as stress as in the case of Dickins V O2 20092
Employers are also required to
not breach trust and confidence and employers have a duty to not destroy the
‘mutual trust and confidence’ between the two parties without reasonable and
proper cause (Courtaulds Northern Textiles Ltd v Andrew 19793.
An employer is not obliged to
provide a reference by law, however where they are providing a reference, a
duty of care is owed to the ex-employee to receive a true, fair and accurate
reference (Bartholomew v London Borough of Hackney 19994.
If a reference is given, implied terms states that the employer will exercise
reasonable care in providing a reference, if a job is lost due to reckless
reference from ex-employer, damages can be recovered for breach of this implied