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Overpaid at work - advice please

(13 Posts)
SancerreHead Thu 23-Oct-08 20:37:07

I work for a local govt org, and am due a payrise, negotiated by unions and backdated to April. There is a lump sum and % payrise involved.

I decided to work out roughly how much increase this might mean to me this week, and apon doing so noticed that this is in fact lower than what I am currently being paid.

I changed my hours to 5hrs less around a year ago, formally through my manager at work as a result of flexible working.

I received my P60 which appeared to reflect my lower wage and did not think anything of it, stupidly did not ever bother to work out my payslip. Money gets paid, bills come out, it works out, never checked. I did not consider for a moment that my wages might be wrong.

Looking closely at my wages (ie x 12) it appears I am being overpaid as my wages are for full time and this has been happening for some time.

I am going to talk to my previous manager (manager changed in last few weeks) about this tomorrow, to find out whether she informed HR of when I changed to flexible hours, and what date she had me down to start it, as I cannot remember. I had an extensive period of time off sick and was on a phased return so don't know when it kicked in. I have no records kept of the flexible working hours approved as I was not given any, and I am worried that my manager never informed HR/payoll that the changes were made. Then I am going to talk to HR to let them know I think I have been overpaid, the date from which this occured and how to proceed.

My manager has not exactly been great with recording information in the past and I am very anxious she has screwed up somewhere and it will come back to me, as my fault.
I understand I will have to pay any overpayment back, that is ok as whether I knew it or not I am not entitled to the money, although I will not be able to afford it in one go.

Where do I stand? I am worried they will try to blame me. I have heard of people being charged with Theft From Employer when they have overclaimed expenses etc. I am worried that I will get into trouble. I have had issues/grievances with work over the last couple of years, and I am worried they might see this as an opportunity to 'get their own back' and try to turn it around to me.

Will I be able to negotiate a paymet plan to pay it back? As my wages will be reduced accordingly to reflect my true hours, any additional payment will need to be lowish so I can afford to pay it back.

Any advice on how to proceed with my employers would be gratefully received.

Thanks
A worried MNer

K999 Thu 23-Oct-08 20:41:09

You should be able to negotiate a pay back plan. How long have you been over paid for?

Try not to worry - the mistake has been noted and you are going to rectify it. It was not your mistake in the first place and so is perfectly reasonable that you want to pay it back in smaller amounts.

SancerreHead Thu 23-Oct-08 20:52:31

K999 - thank you. I know I should not worry. Its just that I have had so many f* ups with my employer over the last couple of years I can just see this not being straightforward and I am shaking just thinking about it.

I would say that I have been overpaid for almost exactly a year, although I need to go right through all my wage slips to check this has been paid for that long and not counting tax/NI/pension etc it is about £300 per month, but I am figuring that after all the deductions etc it is going to be more like £175 per month? I am just worried that my boss has screwed up, no longer my boss and I am going to have to figure out a way of resolving it, and it will make me look bad.

I feel that it is going to be messy and I am going to have another fight with my employers to resolve this.

K999 Thu 23-Oct-08 21:00:48

You should not get a hard time for this! They made the mistake - not you! OK, so perhaps you should have noticed it sooner but you didn't and thats in the past now.
Your overpayment was a mistake of fact - ie wrong data input, computer errors, miscommunications - it follows that you are perfectly entitled to seek to negotiate a payment plan.

SancerreHead Thu 23-Oct-08 21:01:27

bump.. Does everyone agree with K999? Any more advice to calm a panicking person?

Quick before I finish my entire bottle of wine!

SancerreHead Thu 23-Oct-08 21:05:02

Thanks K999. However, my employers have a history of 'passing the buck'. In the long run, this might even go in my favour as they historically bad at recording information - i have had issues around this (not wages, but other misrecording of information) in the past. But it will involve unions and stress and I just do not want to go there. I am scared they will try to use me as a scapegoat for their own disorganisation.

Right now I just want to curl up and pretend I am not even employed. I want it to go away, I have had enough stress to last me a while, I want to just work and be left in peace.

Thanks for your support though, I do appreciate it smile

K999 Thu 23-Oct-08 21:11:52

If you google 'overpayment of wages' you will get a lot of ino - this same situation happened to me a few years back and I told them that I would pay it back but on my terms - I paid it back at £50 a month.....please dont worry - it was THEIR mistake! smile

SancerreHead Thu 23-Oct-08 21:15:35

Thank you....I just found this site...

http://www.legalpulse.com/site/legalweb.nsf/DocView/66D02235D5A0F12080256D650063975F here]]

which is helpful. As it appears there is a standard legal route for reclaiming overpayments. Makes me feel a bit easier about them trying to make it some kind of fraudulent behaviour on my part.

Like I said, I accept I will have to pay it back, albeit at a reduced rate, as I was overpaid.

How does it work, tax wise? Will I have tax deducted from what I owe? Or will my tax now be adjusted to reflect the amount I am going to pay back (once it is agreed amount/timing etc).

I feel calmer, thank you K999! smile

K999 Thu 23-Oct-08 21:29:31

You will basically have to pay back what you owe....your tax should be adjusted by your employer to take account of the overpayment. If you are worried about this then the Inland Revenue should be able to advise you with regards to the tax implications. It is really nothing too much to worry about - ask your employer to put in writing the amount of the overpayment and then work out a plan which you will be able to afford. If I were you I would ensure that all negotiations are in writing - on your part as well as your employers. When you are offering an amount to pay put it in writing and make notes of any conversations etc - this will keep you right and if they become uncooperative then at least you will be able to show that you were doing the best you could to resolve the situation - if worst came to worst and they sought legal action then the courts look to see what any other 'reasonble' employer would do, and by being uncopoperative they would be deemed to NOT be acting reasoanably.

You are doing everything by the book - you know that you have been overpaid, you spotted the mistake and you are trying to rectify it. You cannot be punished for this!

SancerreHead Thu 23-Oct-08 21:33:57

I was going to call my old boss tomorrow (she still works there but a re-jig of the buiding meant managers moved), but I think I will write it all down instead and email it to her, and keep a copy....

I think, in reality, this is her mess to sort out. I cannot beleive HR would have missed this as they are so tight with budgets etc...which leads to my manager not informing them...I am going to ask her to chase it initially for me, as I do not think I should have to do the running.

If she comes back to me saying I need to sort it, but gives me the info I need I will of course sort it myself, but do you think it is unreasonable to ask her to try to rectify the mistake if she was responsible?

K999 Thu 23-Oct-08 21:38:49

If I were you I would raise the issue with her and see what she has to say, but tbh I think it would be better if you contacted HR personally and cc her into any e-mails etc. The sooner you get a payment plan organised the better - hope this helps! smile

SancerreHead Thu 23-Oct-08 21:42:23

Thanks K999. I think, in the first instance I will see what she has to say, and maybe get copies of the paperwork in relation to it all, then I have all the info I need to approach HR.

Problem is I like to have all the info to hand before I solve a problem, and I just don't have it here, I think that is why I am so spooked by it. I cannot see immediately where the problem has gone wrong, so cannot go to them and say...this is wrong, this is why, fix it. I had not understanding! Knowledge is power for sure, and I have little knowledge and feel powerless!

I will start the ball rolling with it tomorrow, and hope it will get sorted by the time the pay rise comes into effect. I am thinking perhaps I will not see any of my payrise lump sum afterall...timing eh? sad

cheshirekitty Sun 26-Oct-08 11:13:28

Sancerrehead - did you get everything sorted out with regards to your pay?

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