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Leaving work without being paid


If you lose your job you have certain rights and entitlements including the right to be paid for work you have done. If you have not been paid by the date of dismissal or if you are still owed some wages, you have a legal entitlement to be paid for your work. The non-payment of your wages is a deduction from your pay by your employer – see 'Deductions from pay' below.

When you leave work

On the day your employment ends, that is the date of dismissal, there are certain things your employer should give you. They include the following:

Deductions from pay

The Payment of Wages Act 1991 regulates how your employer pays you, establishes your right to a payslip and states what legal deductions your employer can make from your pay.

Under Section 5 of the Act it is illegal for an employer to make a deduction from an employee’s wages unless the deduction is:

  • Required by law, for example, tax (PAYE) and social insurance (PRSI)
  • Provided for in the contract of employment, for example occupational pension contributions
  • Made with your written consent, for example, trade union subscriptions
  • To recover an overpayment of wages or expenses
  • Required by a court order, for example, an attachment of earnings order in a family law case
  • Arising due to you being on strike

Unlawful deductions

If you have left work and you have not been paid or if your pay is less than the amount due to you, this is an unlawful deduction under the Payment of Wages Act. The only exception to this is where the non-payment or missing amount is due to a mistake in calculating your pay.

So if you have lost your job but your employer has not paid the wages due to you, you can apply for compensation by making a complaint under the Payment of Wages Act 1991.

How to apply

To make a complaint about this non-payment of wages, you apply using the new online complaint form (available by selecting ‘Make a complaint in relation to employment rights’ on You must make a complaint within 6 months of the date of the deduction which is the date your wages were due to be paid. The time limit may be extended for up to a further 6 months, but only where there are exceptional circumstances which prevented the complaint being brought within the normal time limit.

Further information is available in this explanatory booklet on the Payment of Wages Act 1991 (pdf) or from Workplace Relations Customer Services - see 'Where to apply' below.

Where to apply

Workplace Relations Customer Services

Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation
O'Brien Road

Opening Hours: Mon. to Fri. 9.30am to 5pm
Tel: (059) 917 8990
Locall: 1890 80 80 90

Page edited: 1 October 2013



Related Documents

  • Pay slips
    All employees are entitled by law to a written statement of salary. This statement is called a 'pay slip'. Find out about your rights here.
  • Losing your job - entitlements
    Describes the rights of employees if being let go from their employment. Action to be taken in case of dispute with the employer.
  • Being asked to reduce your pay or your hours of work
    In certain circumstances your employer may ask for a reduction of your working hours or pay. This is a change to your contract of employment.

Contact Us

If you have a question relating to this topic you can contact the Citizens Information Phone Service on 0761 07 4000 (Monday to Friday, 9am to 8pm) or you can visit your local Citizens Information Centre.