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Help help help I've been overpaid not my fault so worried

(10 Posts)
overpaidandworried Tue 11-Aug-09 13:28:14

Changed name for this. Employer has just told me that since I started working here whilst I have received the full amount of childcare vouchers, they have not been deducted from my salary in error.
The vouchers appear on my wage slip as an entry, but unless you added it all up you wouldn?t realise it hadn?t actually been deducted and I genuinely didn?t realise. It is the maximum amount just under £250 each month. I honestly don?t have it. Even if I were to pay it back at £250p/m, my net salary is also reducing by £250p/m because from this month they are correcting the error. So I would be nearly £500 worse off each month than I have been and I don?t think we could pay our mortgage, we've just bought a house and got a new mortgage (sending our wage slips in evidence!) and bought a new car having been without one for ages. Fuck fuck fuck. Even the correction of the error in itself, without extra repayments of the debt reducing my salary by £250 each month is really difficult let alone trying to pay back even a small amount each month.

Does anyone know where I stand, I do realise I probably will have to pay it back if they insist. I know I could probably argue to pay back over time as its their error but I am so angry and upset that I'm in debt again and even £50 a month would be a struggle and I don't want to be in debt for years anyway. I think its other people not just me, I don't know anyone else who gets these vouchers though, the two I did know have recently left the company and I bet they don't have to repay it! At the moment the company says they have not made any firm decisions as to recouping the losses and are still investigating how it happened, they have just told us about it and my salary will be lower this month as the error has been corrected. What I'm mostly fucked off about is in my job you don?t get paid for overtime you just have to do it (in my contract and no choice), and I have worked so hard recently, very long hours and hardly seen my little girl I feel like all my money goes on childcare as it is! I felt underpaid before but even more so now! The company is struggling financially though and we are on a fixed pay scale so no hope of an increase.

Thank you so much in advance if anyone can advise, I am posting in my lunch break and won't log on again until tomorrow at the earliest but any help very gratefully received.

floatyjosmum Tue 11-Aug-09 13:49:06

i work for the council and i know they have a set way for getting over paid money back!

they once thought they had paid me in error the previous month so literally didnt pay me at all the following.
this was due to going from full to half pay when off sick but i had actually gone back so was entitled to full wages!

i think they can take what they want to recoup it but id suggest pulling on their heart strings to see what they say

HappyMummyOfOne Tue 11-Aug-09 18:49:16

They should arrange a repayment schedule rather than take the whole amount from your next wage.

They will be able to enforce the overpayment to be repaid so your best hope is that they are reasonable over the repayment options.

The overtime is a separate issue, lots of contracts state overtime may be required at no extra pay.

overpaidandworried Wed 12-Aug-09 14:26:30

Thanks for the replies does anyone know how I stand on paying a very small amount back each month or what happens if I leave the company. I could only afford at the most £50p/m to be honest which will take me years to repay and I may well leave before then! also I saw recently in the news a lady who had been paid double what she should have been for years by mistake, she had applied for a mortgage etc had another baby on that basis, not only did she have not to pay it back but she got to keep the increased salary! This might be a different case but I was wondering if that had changed things? I have just in the last couple of months applied for a mortgage by sending my wage slips which show a higher net salary than is right!

They certainly couldn't take the whole amount from my wage next month because it far exceeds one month's salary!

flowerybeanbag Wed 12-Aug-09 14:37:42

They will certainly be able to enforce the repayment, but you are in a very good position for negotiating something reasonable. It sounds as though they're not actually sure at this stage whether or not they will reclaim, and you may find they either don't at all, or that they offer to write off part of the debt, or at least will allow very small repayments.

All your other concerns about overtime and your salary not being enough aren't relevant to this.

The only thing I would flag up is that if literally they just started paying you vouchers but didn't start making deductions, then presumably the amount of salary being paid into your bank remained the same, so you may have some difficulty convincing them that you didn't notice. You should have been expecting your salary to go down at the point you started receiving the vouchers instead. I'm not saying I don't believe you; clearly this has come as a shock to you, and I feel for you, but I just thought I ought to flag that up in case it becomes a sticking point with your employer later on.

As it was their error, I hope they come to a reasonable arrangement. If two people have left effectively owing money they will have enormous difficulty claiming that back, so that may stand in your favour.

overpaidandworried Wed 12-Aug-09 19:52:46

Hi flowery,
Thanks very much for your helpful reply. I did know that my other complaints were not really relevant to this and I would not probably get anywhere by raising them, just generally feel hard done by!

I began receiving child care vouchers in my first full month's salary when I joined this company 18 months ago so I never noticed my salary was wrong, as my salary had changed from my previous job.

I have since had emails with the HR manager to say how shocked I was and explained I genuinely did not realise the error and she has replied to confirm that there is no blame going to be attached to any employees because the error is not easy to see on the pay slip. I think they are basically still considering whether they are going to write it off or not so I have calmed down a lot since my initial post and think they probably will be pretty reasonable and am just daring to pray they write it off entirely. Thanks again

flowerybeanbag Thu 13-Aug-09 11:04:43

Oh ok then makes perfect sense that you wouldn't notice. It does sound like there's at least a reasonable chance you might not have to pay back any or at least some of the money, so fingers crossed!

overpaidandworried Thu 13-Aug-09 23:06:48

Hi, had a letter today to say that the company is going to write off the payments made in previous years. They are going to claim back what was paid so far this financial year and have suggested either by monthly repayments or by deducting from this year's bonus (I didn't get a bonus last year so not quite sure how that will work for me!). These are just proposals and the company is still considering them and is inviting our views.

I think this is fair and v relieved about the previous years.

However, they are asking for 4 months of £243 = £972. Flowery, could I possibly ask you to read my draft email below and say if I have got this right because my husband has just pointed this out and not sure if right or even a bit cheeky considering they are writing off previous years. Don't ask don't get though.... Thanks v much in advance.

Dear HR Manager,

Thank you very much for your letter and the confirmation that the company is not seeking to recoup overpayments made in previous financial years.

I shall reply with comments in full to your proposals shortly, however in the meantime please can I clarify something with you. You have suggested that the sum of £972 should be recouped, beng £243 X 4 months (April – Jul 09 inclusive). However, I understand that if I had been paid the childcare vouchers correctly during the period, it would have been a deduction from my gross salary and then I would not have paid tax on that amount. Therefore I do not think it right that I should repay £972 from my net salary after tax, because I have essentially then lost out on the tax saving that I should have received. I do appreciate and am very grateful that the company is not seeking to recoup overpayments in previous years, but if we are just looking at this financial year then it does seem that if I pay back £972 I have lost the tax saving for four months.

I think in fact what would be right if this is to be the agreed way forward is to pay back the overpayments in this financial year as the difference in what my net salary should have been had the £243 salary sacrifice in c/c vouchers been correctly deducted and what was actually paid net over those four months.

Could you let me know the company's views?

Medee Thu 13-Aug-09 23:23:24

good news about the write off, but won't they just take the deductions off the gross as they should have been doing in the first place, and you will still get the tax benefit?

overpaidandworried Fri 14-Aug-09 09:35:29

Medee I'm not sure if they can.
Because I understood could only get a maximum of £243 in c/c vouchers, since I'm now also getting my correct full amount as I should be, not sure if they can also take the repayments off the gross as that would then exceed the maximum? Anyway I will ask.

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