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Query on overpayment of wages

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Hello all


I am making this enquiry on behalf of a family member who has been overpaid by her employer (their error), and has now been contacted as to repaying this overpayment. Here are the details;


She has been overpaid £1,800 over a period of I believe, several months, and this overpayment is due to the way the company calculates overtime.


She works overtime on weekends, and many evenings, and there are different rates for Saturday, Sunday and additional hours in the day over and above her allocated hours. The accounts department apparently amalgamates these hours, such that on her payslip it looks like 'n' additional hours i.e. if she worked say 2 additional hours on a Sunday, which is double time, her payslip would read: total overtime = 4 @ standard rate of pay.


However, because she works evenings, Saturdays and Sundays - each at different rates, when she gets her payslip there's no way of seeing what hours she worked on each of these times of the week as the total overtime hours are amalgamated into the equivalent number of hours at standard rate. So, in summary there's no easy way for her to have spotted any errors and as the overpayments have been made over a period of a few months (I believe, I may have to check that) she didn't spot anything because of the amount of additional hours she works.


On her return from holidays, she received an email saying she had been over paid by £1,800 and please to contact the accounts department to arrange repayment.


So... a few qns;


1. She should she check and confirm that she has in fact, been overpaid. But given the errors are in the calculations within the accounts dept, are they legally required to keep records that she can check and 'reverse calculate' her overtime hours...?

2. I am assuming she does legally have to repay this overpayment by her (private sector) employer, yes...?

3. If (2) is yes, then can she arrange repayment on her terms, not theirs...?


Thanks all.



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Record for accounting purposes should be kept for a number of years, I think it is 6 (HMRC may need them), but I might be wrong there. So you should be able to reverse calculate.


She would have to repay the money, however you correctly state that as it is not her mistake that she should be allowed to repay in a manner that does not put her in financial jeopardy. She should calculate what the rate should be and ask that it be taken at that rate.


I would make this realistic though as they are as likely to deduct it in lump sums otherwise and then you will be in dispute and fighting and that could be nasty.

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Papasmurf is as usual quite correct. Legally, they can, if they wished recover the money directly from wages, but for such an amount, and having acknowledged their error, this would be most unreasonable behaviour. Certainly no repayment should be agreed without checking what they say is true, and for this purpose, the employer should be able to provide whatever evidence is required (timesheets etc). Probably best to look at a number then 'gross up' the figures rather than to check every piece of paper over the time in question. Based on what may then be agreed, set a realistic proposal for repayment.


There is a very complex legal argument where a 'change of position' might be claimed, but this is always harder when one is still working at the place in question so best reserved for when and if they choose not to play ball with a repayment proposal.

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