to consider keeping an overpayment from work?

(58 Posts)
jango36 Sun 21-Apr-13 16:08:41

title says it all.. Was paid a few hundered extra this def was extra. Some admin person has done it in error! am I terrible for considering keeping stum?!

HousewifeFromHeaven Sun 21-Apr-13 16:09:22

Yes you are it's not yours

McNewPants2013 Sun 21-Apr-13 16:17:54

Don't do it once your employer discovers the mistake you will have to pay it back.

JamEyelid Sun 21-Apr-13 16:18:05


DP got this. Left it in the bank for ages and then spent it. Two days later they contacted him and he had to pay it back like I told him they would

ilovesooty Sun 21-Apr-13 16:20:43

If you're happy to be accused of fraud once the company is audited, I suppose you might not have a problem. hmm

MrsMacFarlane Sun 21-Apr-13 16:23:10

Fess up and give it back. They'll definitely ask you for it when they realise what's happened. They'll just deduct it from your next pay if you don't return it.

OrbisNonSufficit Sun 21-Apr-13 16:24:24

As you know it's an overpayment, you'll have to give it back -- CAB

hellhasnofurylikeahungrywoman Sun 21-Apr-13 16:24:37

Not quite sure how you could keep it, they'll discover the error and ask for it back and you will have to give it to them. So yes, YABU.

ChairOfTheBored Sun 21-Apr-13 16:25:41

Guess it depends how you feel about keeping your job?

To keep it would be fraudulent, and the only honest thing to do is to tell them, and pay it back.

JerseySpud Sun 21-Apr-13 16:25:59

YABU. Its a sackable offence i believe as its fraud.

1Catherine1 Sun 21-Apr-13 16:26:37

I was overpaid for 6 months, genuinely didn't notice (It was my first full time job). By the time it came out I owed them a lot of money. It caused me so much stress, I was living month to month as it was.

Don't spend it!

ImpatientOne Sun 21-Apr-13 16:27:17

As sooty says it is fraud so really not worth trying to keep quiet.

A colleague of mine did manage to negotiate a gradual repayment plan when this happened to her rather than it go in a lump but it will eventually have to go back...

prophylaxis Sun 21-Apr-13 16:27:49

It's probably a bad idea but I've been overpaid a few times, firstly when I left my previous employer I was overpaid about £1500, I wrote to tell them about it and got a weird response, seems they didn't have a process to deal with it really, it ended up being left to my line manager, who didn't give a crap as it wasn't his money. This wasn't even some small company, it was a multi billion pound global finance company! I was treated like crap while I was there so don't feel bad about it, but if they got their act together and asked for it back tomorrow I would pay it back (I have enough in savings).

My current employer has screwed up a couple of times paying me for what was supposed to be unpaid leave, again I told them about it and they made a mess of asking for it back, offered me to pay it back in installments or all in one go I said I was happy to pay it all at once, then they never mentioned it again, and made the same mistake another time after that. Again I can pay it them back tomorrow, but I'm not chasing them about their mistake after I already told them once.

So my view is - tell them about it and offer it back, but don't waste your time chasing them about it if they muck about. But always make sure you have enough savings to pay it back if they ask for it in future.

edam Sun 21-Apr-13 16:29:20

Fess up - it will be discovered eventually anyway and you will have to pay it back.

Used to be at least you could stick it in a high interest account and earn a few pennies, only there aren't any of them left with immediate access these days.

prophylaxis Sun 21-Apr-13 16:30:14

Its a sackable offence i believe as its fraud.

Even if it is, there's no offence without proof of intent, the employee can simply claim they didn't realise it was an overpayment, and if there's no evidence (eg posting on facebook "I got overpaid and am going to keep it lol"), nothings ever going to come of it.

StepAwayFromTheEcclesCakes Sun 21-Apr-13 16:37:40

I was overpaid for 9 years shock queried several times for explanation as to an odd entry on the wage slip that said additional told it was ok then 9 years later in a restructure that resulted in my redundancy someone discovered it was wrong. PANIC would have been thousands to pay back but as I had queried it and line manager had the big boss instructed HR not to claim it back. salary took a bit of a drop for the last 3 months of the job before redundancy but got redundancy pay and got a new job 6 months later so a result.

CloudsAndTrees Sun 21-Apr-13 16:41:38

Do you really need to ask? hmm

SweetSeraphim Sun 21-Apr-13 17:05:28

You will get found out and have to pay it back. That's the only reason that I would say YABU.

TattyDevine Sun 21-Apr-13 17:07:48

I would say something, because there's a good chance the error will get picked up anyway and its an opportunity for you to show how honest and trustworthy you are as an individual.

Many years ago an employee with a similar name to me got paid my overtime. When I queried my payslip they did of course work it out and she did have to pay it back (they claw it back) and whilst she didn't get in trouble, it didn't show her in a good light at all.

AngelinaJoliesBeard Sun 21-Apr-13 17:09:22

Imagine how it makes you look if you keep it and they have to ask for it back. Think long term.

ShadowStorm Sun 21-Apr-13 17:43:23


They'll notice eventually and then they'll want the money back. Better to tell them about it now so it gets sorted out sooner rather than later.

A similar thing happened to me a few years back when I was working as agency (so not entitled to holiday pay) - somehow they processed my timesheet twice so paid me once, properly, for a week I'd worked - and then paid me the same amount again the next week when I was on holiday.

They noticed pretty quickly, before I did - I think I didn't notice because both payslips showed the normal weekly pay I'd expect to get.

But, the result was that the overpaid money just got took off my next payslip. There wasn't any suggestion that I'd deliberately failed to tell them of their error, but if I'd gone and spent the money on stuff already then having the overpayment taken off the next weeks wages would have left me in a bit of a mess.

HomeEcoGnomist Sun 21-Apr-13 17:50:59


When they find out and ask for it back, you are not going up look good
In situations like this in the past, I have always questioned someone's integrity if they don't raise the mistake before they are contacted about it.
There are really very few people whose monthly pay is so complicated that they can't be expected to check their own tax code or net pay.

expatinscotland Sun 21-Apr-13 17:52:05

They'll eventually catch the error and you'll need to pay it back.

ChoudeBruxelles Sun 21-Apr-13 17:55:10

Tell them

Floggingmolly Sun 21-Apr-13 18:28:10

They will discover it, it's just a question of when. And then you'll not only have to and it back, but they'll know you're dishonest.
How will that look?

mmmuffins Sun 21-Apr-13 18:29:37


I moved internally to a less-well paid (but more interesting) position, but the company continued to pay me my previous higher salary. I didn't notice.

They noticed about 4 months in and I had to pay all the money back. I don't think there is any point in you keeping it, as surely your company will eventually do the same.


They WILL notice, and then they could sack you, at the least you'll pay it back.

BoffinMum Sun 21-Apr-13 18:39:12

I fessed up to an overpayment once only to be told it was an enormous tax refund as they had been using the wrong code for months. But always best to put the money safe and not spend it while you work out what has happened.

EleanorFarjeon Sun 21-Apr-13 23:44:40

I was recently told by my head of dept that I have been over paid by £3500.

It was over a while and tbh, I hadn't noticed.

They are writing it off (because it is a 'small' amount), I am pleased to say.

Bobyan Sun 21-Apr-13 23:57:07

It's theft and they could prosecute you for it.

Redcliff Mon 22-Apr-13 00:22:14

They could not sack you or prosecute you over this - it is their mistake. I would drop them an e-mail though saying you got more then you expected and do they know why. Could be a tax refund - that happened to me once.

Bobyan Mon 22-Apr-13 06:46:05

Knowingly retaining a wrongful credit into an account you have the benefit of is theft according to the 1968 theft act.

But hey ho, you could just keep it and hope you don't end up in court over it.
As well as being a thief.

scaevola Mon 22-Apr-13 06:48:28

You know YABVU.

But it suppose you could enter into an agreement with them that works both ways: soif they underpay you, you cannot have it made up. Or would you prefer to have a known income?

JakeBullet Mon 22-Apr-13 06:55:20

I was in this position four years ago when my salaries department paid me a month after I had left. I contacted them and asked them to recall it, gave them all the details etc and pointed out I had left and that the bank account was closing as I had opened a new one.

Three years later I had a letter fro the bank to say they wanted to transfer/change the savings account I had with them (that I never used and didn't look at). Listed in there was over £800 which was the salary that three years before my previous employers said they would recall! When the account closed the bank had simply transferred it to the linked savings account. I had no contact from my previous employer in all that time to say they hadn't reclaimed it.

Phoned them again, they took some finding as in the time the phone numbers had all changed. Finally got through to someone and managed to speak to the salary manager who said that the company had changed...(they were now slightly differently named) and the money belonged to the old company which no longer existed! He told me to "enjoy it" and just said there was nowhere for it to go back to. A good day that was!

BUT...I absolutely DID attempt to return it and would advise you to do the same.

ChairmanWow Mon 22-Apr-13 07:03:12

It's not theft and it's not sackable. They made an admin error in calculating your pay so they can't take disciplinary action against you. They can however deduct it from your pay once they notice. Tell them otherwise you might find yourself left short when they notice. It's not worth the hassle.

WaitingForMe Mon 22-Apr-13 07:11:19

Speaking as an employer while I may not necessarily sack someone for this it would highlight that the person was either dishonest or unobservant. Neither are traits I want in my team long term and it would certainly rule them out for promotion. There is more to this kind of thing than what you can get away with.

Bobyan Mon 22-Apr-13 07:15:37

An admin error isn't theft but knowingly keeping it without saying anything is.

Trazzletoes Mon 22-Apr-13 07:16:38

Definitely theft to keep it.

Trazzletoes Mon 22-Apr-13 07:21:25

ChairmanWow why do you think it's not theft? She would be dishonestly taking money that she isn't entitled to.

CabbageLeaves Mon 22-Apr-13 07:22:00

One of my staff came to me to tell me she had been over paid. The level of trust this develops is worth lots. Ironically in her case it was her error in calculation and the pay was correct (in fact we found out she was missing one days pay.)

If you keep it, then you will be the sort of person that would keep money that wasn't hers.
ARE you that sort of person?

CabbageLeaves Mon 22-Apr-13 07:22:54

I wouldn't call it theft if someone did it unknowingly. It is theft if you are aware of it.

YoniiidsAreGreaterThanMine Mon 22-Apr-13 07:24:41

Even if they dont notice it and you are not repaying it, beware. Karma is a bitch. You will most probably lose a similar amount of money unexpectedly somewhere else... grin

CabbageLeaves Mon 22-Apr-13 07:24:41

Norks has it. You can pretend you didn't spot the admin error to your employer and to yourself. But both will know its not true so that will make it theft

Altinkum Mon 22-Apr-13 07:26:12

Phone them and ask if you're wages are correct, have you has your pay slip, as it might be a tax rebate.

MoodyDidIt Mon 22-Apr-13 07:33:18

not if you are still working there

and not if its a small company

if its your last pay cheque and its a big company, keep it like i did when i got overpaid in my last paycheque when i worked for one of the big banks who treated me like shit

FUCK EM. Lol grin

Bobyan Mon 22-Apr-13 07:37:01

Until they find out and decided to fuck you right back.

Trazzletoes Mon 22-Apr-13 07:39:13

Cabbage you're right. Theft requires dishonesty. If you honestly believe there is no error then it's fine. But you know there is an error. You know it's not yours to keep.

merrymouse Mon 22-Apr-13 07:48:10

If it is an error they will find out about it when they do monthly reconciliations/tax reporting.

You might as well tell them now and look good.

If you keep the money and it hasn't been taxed correctly and you dont inform hmrc you will be defrauding them too.

emmyloo2 Mon 22-Apr-13 07:49:26

YABU. It's stealing and you will have to pay it back. It's a criminal offence.

Lonecatwithkitten Mon 22-Apr-13 07:54:49

The OP is aware it has happened as she posted here and she is showing intent to keep by discussing here. By the nature of posting it here if she chooses to keep the amount it is theft.
Most contracts have a clause in then relating to accidental overpayment of wages and the ability of the firm to recoup now. So she may even have a contractual obligation.

tazzle Mon 22-Apr-13 07:58:06

Well think about it the other way... if you noticed you had been under paid you would , quite rightly , tell them you had and want paid for work done. You cannot have it work one way a d not the other !

Why should you benefit from someone elses error .... what if you were the hr person that made the error ?

You know it's dishonest. .. do the right thing ... tell them.

emmyloo2 Mon 22-Apr-13 08:01:43

Just to correct posters above, if you knowingly keep it that is theft and it is a criminal offence. Bobyan is completely correct. You do know it's an overpayment so if you keep it, it's theft and also the tort of conversion and you will have to pay it back.

I am a lawyer with a company and we chase people down who have left the company who have been overpaid. If you don't pay it back they can take you to court.

confusedgirlfromtheShire Mon 22-Apr-13 08:10:13

I second a poster above who said it might be a tax rebate. I'm not a tax expert by any means and don't know your circumstances obviously - but as this is the first pay packet in the new tax year, your tax code might have changed and they might need to adjust your take home pay to take account of that??

Either way, you must bring it to their attention.

MoodyDidIt Mon 22-Apr-13 08:12:51


it was ten years ago so get over yourself

amistillsexy Mon 22-Apr-13 08:17:05

I was overpaid once (working as a teacher) . I contacted the payroll dept and they said they'd look into it. My headteacher advised me to put it away in a savings account, so I wasn't tempted to spend it.
Great advice, as it helped to pay the deposit on my first house 8 years later! Despite several phone calls and letters, they never took the money back.

amistillsexy Mon 22-Apr-13 08:18:57

Meant to add...I always had the intention of paying it back. That's the key here. The decent thing is to tell them, and let them decide what to do about it.

gonerogue Mon 22-Apr-13 08:36:15

I was paid an extra month of maternity leave, I.e they paid me for my first unpaid month off. They didn't notice, e en when I rang up querying as we were die to get a bonus that month so I was checking if tht was what had come through.

When I got my payslip I realised their mistake rang payroll, my line manager, payroll, line manager... The overpayment was in August and they didn't sort it until Novembr.

My line manager said he was shocked t my telling them... But ke everyone else I didn't want a big demand for cash off them in future.

Easy to let them know, chase it a few times then leave it with them.

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