Overpaid on mat leave - advice needed please!

(11 Posts)
MindatWork Tue 05-Nov-19 19:17:09

Hi, I’d be very grateful for any advice please - first of all I’m aware it’s as much my duty to make sure I’m being paid the correct amount on mat leave and I’m also aware my employer is legally entitled to recover any overpaid salary. That said, I’m so cross about how it’s been handled and I’d like some advice on how to word my response.

In a nutshell - due to an HR cock up I’ve been overpaid by 6 weeks’ salary while on mat leave. This has only just been uncovered as I officially returned to work on 1st Oct didn’t get paid at the end of the month, so phoned HR in a panic. They apologised, said there had been a mistake and they would arrange a BACS transfer asap (I returned slightly earlier than planned so they thought the paperwork hadn’t been done in time to get me back on the payroll).

I’ve now been informed in a v sheepish email that this was not a mistake - actually I’ve been overpaid and will in fact receive no wages at all for Oct. I’ll also have approx £300 taken out of my Nov wages to cover the remaining amount owing. It all seems to have been done automatically, I don’t think they’d even have informed me or given me any official notice had I not queried it with them.

The fuck up came about as my DS arrived 6 weeks early in v traumatic fashion, and they missed the paperwork from my boss informing them that I had gone on mat leave early. As a result I got 6 weeks’ extra full pay as my mat leave pay didn’t officially start until my expected due date.

DS was in special care for a while and had other health issues requiring hospital appts for the first 6 months, so I can’t really say I was paying much attention to how much I was being paid - I do accept this is my fault.

I luckily have some savings left and DH is covering the extra shortfall (much higher earner) so we’re v fortunate that this isn’t the end of the world financially - however, with it being so close to Christmas, we could have easily been financially fucked.

They’ve been so blasé about it in their emails, I really want to make a complaint about how it’s been handled but don’t know if I’d have a leg to stand on. Is this just par for the course? Employer is a local authority if that makes any difference.

Thanks in advance (and congrats if you got this far grin)

OP’s posts: |
siriusblackthemischieviouscat Tue 05-Nov-19 19:25:18

You are right, they should have written to you - still should so you have it in writing.

If they has written to you earlier you could have been given the option to either deduct over the period of your maternity leave (although there are rules regarding deductions from SMP so this might not be an option).

I work in payroll and HR and i would always try and give you the option to pay over the months the over payment occurred but also equal instalments so that you got some pay in October and some in November - depending on your earnings this would be better as you would get the benifit from NI free pay so over the 2 months would get mire net pay than not. I am also open to paying back over slightly longer than the two months.

You do need to write or email to state you are not happy not being alerted to the overpayment sooner nor given any repayment options.

As you say, financially you can manage this but many couldn't and this might mean they can't pay their childcare bills.

user1494050295 Tue 05-Nov-19 20:02:41

This happened to me when I left f wit former employer. They overpaid my pension by £4K instead of deducting. My final pay check had zilch and I still owed £ 2k. They wanted the money back. We agreed I could pay them in instalments over two years with no interest. I would speak to them and see if that’s an option given they screwed up

itsboiledeggsagain Tue 05-Nov-19 20:12:38

I never had a letter from my employer stating how much I would be paid. I just had to work it out from the policy. Local authority too. I dont think it is mandatory, just nice to have. (just saying this as I have seen a few times here people saying that you should get a letter)

It is a real shame that this has happened and I feel for you. I think you could complain or at least raise it and someone might be apologetic. I don't think much more would come of it however. You could ask them to take the November payment in instalments, but I am not sure that would be much of a great idea going into Xmas and the brokenness of January.

Sorry your baby was poorly. Don't beat your self up about this all though because it is a hazy time for everyone and it is all just about muddling through.

MindatWork Tue 05-Nov-19 20:39:01

Thank you for your responses - I think it’s more the fact that the payroll system just automatically withheld my wages and they only realised when I queried it. If they’d caught it earlier and informed me in advance it would have been different.

The worst thing is that I received the email mistakenly saying I would be paid on Friday afternoon, so I treated us to a nice family lunch out for DS’ birthday on Saturday - money I could have down without spending sad.

I will definitely be writing a strongly worded email of complaint; I’ll call my boss tomorrow and see what she thinks. It’s such a shame as I really enjoyed my job before lay leave and this has made a difficult time even more stressful.

OP’s posts: |
MindatWork Wed 06-Nov-19 11:10:22

Just an update - I spoke to my manager this morning and she is livid (evidently there have been other issues with payroll/finance since I’ve been off).

She sent a searing email and they’ve now climbed down and agreed to give me my Oct pay and agree a payment plan for the amount owing. Thank goodness for that, I feel very fortunate!

Thanks for all comments and advice x

OP’s posts: |
QforCucumber Wed 06-Nov-19 11:21:28

Glad to read the update, legally they cannot make deductions which take you below minimum wage for the hours you've worked without agreeing this in writing with you. (so say you earn £15 an hour they can deduct the difference but cannot take you under £8.21/hr without your written consent) they also cannot make deductions from your wage is it is not agreed in your contract.

Beamur Wed 06-Nov-19 11:26:15

Just about to post and say this happened to me too and I repaid in installments.
Good update that your boss has sorted it out!

MindatWork Wed 06-Nov-19 11:33:42

@QforCucumber I did wonder about this but sadly they can deduct however much they want if they are recovering overpaid wages, I’ve checked the .gov website and there is an exemption for this situation angry

OP’s posts: |
HunterHearstHelmsley Thu 07-Nov-19 17:43:34

Glad its been sorted for you.

It's right that they can take the whole amount for over payment and they don't have to inform you. I had a similar situation last year and I got paid around £100. Luckily, I had someone who could lend me the money but it's very stressful! I appreciate they can take the money back but surely it would be good practice to at least send an email.

siriusblackthemischieviouscat Fri 08-Nov-19 05:43:11

So glad they sorted it. Your manager did the right thing!

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