Labour Research December 2001

Features: Law queries

Law queries

* My employer has just dismissed me. I am worried because I have just found out that he never paid my National Insurance contributions. I have been told that this makes my contract illegal, which means that I cannot take a claim for unpaid wages against him.

It is true that if an employee agrees not to have National Insurance (or indeed tax) deducted, in circumstances where it should be, the effect is to make the whole of the contract illegal. This means that the employee cannot enforce any of its terms. However, the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) has just ruled that to come within this legal rule the employee has to have known that the employer was doing something illegal and essentially assented to it. Since you did not know what was happening until after your dismissal your contract will not be declared illegal and unenforceable.

More information: Gyaniao v Design Corner 0204/00