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Overpayment of salary - help

Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
Hi all
I'd really appreciate help from anyone with experience in employment law or anything similar. Basically, I got a temporary maternity-cover promotion from January to August which resulted in my salary going up. Unfortunately, what I didn't realise was that our HR department had made a balls-up and were paying me the extra amount twice each month. I honestly didn't notice it in my pay cheques - it wasn't enough of an increase for me to think "wow, where's that come from" after tax - especially as I was expecting more money than usual anyway (I know, I should have checked exactly how much more I should have been receiving per month but I didn't and like I said the overpayment wasn't so huge for it to seem wrong).
Anyway, I was oblivious to all this until just after the end of my temporary promotion, when my HR dept informed me of their mistake and told me they wanted me to pay it back over 6 months at £190 per month. As I was going back to my old salary at that point, I freaked out a bit because to me that's a lot of money and as I'm currently saving to go away travelling for 2 months (one month of which I will be taking as unpaid leave) at the end of the year I'm strapped for cash as it is.
So I spoke to my union rep who was totally on my side and she suggested offering to pay them back at a rate of £20 per month - she said as it was their mistake they would have to accept my terms.
But now I have got another temporary promotion, taking my salary back to what it was, and HR have contacted me telling me they think I should accept their initial payment plan - £190 per month starting from September - because using their logic, that's the extra I will be receiving each month from my new promotion therefore it won't impact on me financially. I've tried to explain that because I'm going away and taking a month's unpaid leave, I've budgeted that money into my savings to cover that and that I can't afford to start paying it back yet, and have offered to accept their payment plan from when I get back (February) but I don't know if I'm within my rights to say to them that because it was their mistake they should let me start paying it back at a time that will be convenient to me. I'm not trying to keep the money and I am willing to agree to their payment plan, just not yet as it will cause me financial difficulty. Is there any legislation or anything like that which would help me, or are they legally allowed to demand me to pay it back immediately?


  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I'm not too sure where you would stand legally, but if it was their mess I'd say you don't even have to pay it back. At least go with what your rep said and offer them repayment on your own terms, but if that money has been accidentally given to you, its yours!
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    This is something you need to decide with the employer and your rep, have you actually had a meeting with the three of you yet?

    Frankly I think £20 a month is taking the piss a bit if at £190 a month for 6 months is your debt paid, at £20 a month you'd have to be there for many years to pay it off.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Yeah, I know. I went along with that initially because I was angry and upset about it all and when my union rep suggested it I thought "yeah, tough - they'll just have to accept it". But you're right, I would have to be here for years before paying it all back, and I hate being in debt - plus they'd just take the remainder out of my final pay cheque if/when I left anyway.

    I haven't had a meeting with the union rep and my employer, it's just been emails back and forth so far. Thinking about it a face-to-face meeting might be good as emails can be misinterpreted. But do I have the right to say that yes I will pay it back, using their repayment plan, but just can't do that until February?
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I know that in the Icelandic law that if the overpayment isn't substancial enough for the employee to recognise as abnormal the employer can't claim it back.
    However, your law could be totally different when it comes to these things. It's something your union rep would probably know if it was.

    I find it hard to believe that they can demand you to start your repayments right away. After all, it's their cock up and you did not know of it. I find it hard to believe that your law doesn't offer some protection in case of such occurance. I hope some of the more law savvy on these forums can help you with that one.

    Good luck sorting it out.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    They are entitled to have return of the overpayment, unless you can show that it was their mistake and it would be unconscionable for you to have to repay it. The amount of the repayment is what you need to negotiate on, because legally you do have to repay it.

    If you need advice on how to negotiate contact CLS Direct on 0845 345 4345.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Negotiate for as low a payment as you can, better in your pocket earning interest than in their's.
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