Get Your Pay : How to Write a Legal Notice for Unpaid Salary in India

Get Your Pay : How to Write a Legal Notice for Unpaid Salary in India

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In today's challenging economic landscape, the issue of unpaid salaries has become increasingly prevalent, especially in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. As an employee in India, it's crucial to understand your rights and the legal recourse available when faced with non-payment of wages. This comprehensive guide will walk you through the process of writing and sending a legal notice for unpaid salary, as well as explore other avenues for recovering your hard-earned money.

Understanding Your Rights as an Employee

Before delving into the specifics of writing a legal notice, it's essential to understand that every employee in India has the right to receive timely payment for their work. The Payment of Wages Act of 1936 mandates the prompt disbursement of salaries to employees. If your employer denies or delays your salary, you're entitled not only to the unpaid amount but also to interest on the delayed payment.

Why Send a Legal Notice?

Sending a legal notice is often the first formal step in addressing the issue of unpaid salary. It serves several purposes:

  1. It officially informs your employer of your intention to take legal action if the matter isn't resolved.
  2. It provides a documented record of your attempt to resolve the issue amicably.
  3. It may prompt your employer to settle the dues without further legal proceedings.
  4. It strengthens your case if you need to escalate the matter to court or labor authorities.

Steps to Write a Legal Notice for Unpaid Salary

  1. Gather Necessary Documents

Before drafting your legal notice, collect all relevant documents that support your claim. These may include:

  • Employment contract or appointment letter
  • Salary slips or pay stubs
  • Bank statements showing previous salary deposits
  • Any communication with your employer regarding the unpaid salary
  • Details of additional benefits and perks you're entitled to
  1. Choose the Right Recipient

Address the legal notice to the appropriate person or entity. This could be:

  • The company's HR manager
  • The managing director or CEO
  • The person in charge of your department
  • The company's registered office address
  1. Begin with a Clear Subject Line

Start your notice with a clear subject line, such as "Legal Notice for Non-Payment of Salary" or "Demand for Payment of Outstanding Wages."

  1. Provide Your Details

Include your full name, designation, employee ID (if applicable), and the duration of your employment with the company.

  1. State the Facts

Clearly outline the facts of your case, including:

  • The period for which your salary is unpaid
  • The total amount due, including any additional benefits or allowances
  • Any previous attempts you've made to resolve the issue
  1. Cite Relevant Laws

Mention the relevant laws that support your claim, such as:

  • The Payment of Wages Act, 1936
  • The Minimum Wages Act, 1948
  • The Industrial Disputes Act, 1947 (if applicable)
  1. Make a Clear Demand

Clearly state your demand for the payment of your unpaid salary, including:

  • The exact amount due
  • Any interest on the delayed payment (if applicable)
  • A reasonable deadline for the payment (usually 7-15 days)
  1. Mention Potential Legal Action

Inform the employer that failure to comply with your demand may result in legal action, including but not limited to:

  • Filing a complaint with the Labor Commissioner
  • Initiating proceedings in the Labor Court
  • Filing a civil suit for recovery of dues
  1. Close with a Formal Signature

End the notice with a formal closing, your full name, and signature.

Sample Template for Legal Notice

Subject: Legal Notice for Non-Payment of Salary


[Employer's Name/Designation]

[Company Name and Address]

Dear Sir/Madam,

I, [Your Full Name], employed as [Your Designation] with Employee ID [Your ID] at [Company Name], am writing this legal notice regarding the non-payment of my salary for the period [Start Date] to [End Date].

Despite my repeated requests and reminders, my salary amounting to Rs. [Total Amount Due] remains unpaid. This action is in violation of the Payment of Wages Act, 1936, and the terms of my employment contract dated [Contract Date].

Through this notice, I formally demand the payment of my outstanding salary of Rs. [Amount] along with interest at the rate of [Interest Rate]% per annum within [Number of Days] days from the receipt of this notice.

Failure to comply with this demand will leave me with no choice but to initiate appropriate legal action, including but not limited to filing a complaint with the Labor Commissioner and seeking redressal through the Labor Court.

I hope that this matter can be resolved amicably without the need for further legal proceedings.

Yours sincerely,

[Your Full Name]

[Your Signature]

Here's a basic template you can use as a 

What to Do After Sending the Legal Notice

After sending the legal notice, wait for the specified period (usually 7-15 days) for your employer to respond. If you receive no response or an unsatisfactory one, you can consider the following steps:

  1. Approach the Labor Commissioner

File a complaint with the Labor Commissioner in your area. Attach a copy of the legal notice you sent, along with other supporting documents. The Labor Commissioner's role is to mediate and reconcile differences between employers and employees.

  1. File a Case in the Labor Court

If the Labor Commissioner fails to resolve the issue, you can file a case in the Labor Court under the Industrial Disputes Act, 1947. Remember that this suit must be filed within one year from the date the salary became due.

  1. Consider Civil Court Action

For employees in executive or managerial positions, filing a civil suit in accordance with the Civil Procedure Code, 1908, is an option. However, this should generally not be your first course of action due to the time and costs involved.

  1. Explore the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC) Route

If your unpaid salary amounts to Rs. 1 lakh or more (but less than Rs. 1 crore), you can file an application with the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) under the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016. This option is particularly relevant if your employer is facing financial difficulties.

Additional Legal Remedies for Unpaid Salary

While sending a legal notice is often the first step, it's important to be aware of other legal avenues available to you:

  1. Contract Labor (Regulation and Abolition) Act

If you're employed as contract labor, Section 21 of this Act holds the contractor responsible for timely wage payment. If the contractor fails, the principal employer becomes liable for the payment.

  1. Shops and Establishment Act

Many states have their own legislation governing shops and establishments. Violation of provisions, including non-payment of wages, can result in fines up to Rs. 2 lakhs.

  1. Industrial Disputes Act

Section 33C of this Act deals with the recovery of money due to employees. You or your legal heir can file an application for payment of salary with the appropriate government.

  1. Arbitration and Mediation

Check your employment contract for arbitration clauses. While arbitration can be costly, mediation offers a potentially quicker and less expensive alternative for dispute resolution.

  1. Criminal Suit

In extreme cases, you can file a criminal suit under Section 420 of the Indian Penal Code if your employer deliberately refuses to pay your salary.


Facing the issue of unpaid salary can be stressful and financially challenging. However, as an employee in India, you have several legal options at your disposal. Starting with a well-drafted legal notice often proves to be an effective first step in recovering your dues.

Remember, timely action is crucial. Most legal remedies have specific time limits within which you must file your claim. If you're unsure about the process or need assistance, don't hesitate to consult with an experienced labor law attorney who can guide you through the legal intricacies and help protect your rights.

By understanding your rights and the legal procedures available, you can take confident steps towards claiming your hard-earned salary. Stay informed, document everything, and don't let unscrupulous employers take advantage of your lack of legal knowledge. Your work deserves fair compensation, and the law is on your side to ensure you receive what you're owed.

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