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Help!!! Maternity pay overpaid and owed holiday now being used to ofset?


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Hi guys,

 

Any help or advice anyone can give would be amazing!! and i apologise in advance for very long post - really hard to explain!!:|

 

I have worked for a very well known company for the last 3 years without a problem.

 

However i had my first child in November last year and have been of on Maternity leave since Oct 09, now i was supposed to get paid my normal wage monthly until Jan and then it was to be dropped to stat mat pay, but i carried on getting paid my normal wage in jan,feb,march and april - it was soo confusing!! i wasnt recieving any of my wage slips and was calling my HR dept on a weekly basis trying to work out what the bloody hell was going on, on the 28 May (normal payday) i didnt recieve any money what so ever so i called my manager asking what was going on now, she didnt have a clue and said she would find out and call me, later on that day she called me to sya that i had been overpaid my mat pay and they have just realised (why none of my calls were not logged i do not know????) but had put my amended mat pay in my bank later that day (so i could actually get food/electric etc) but it worked out i got overpaid in total by just under £2000.

 

Anyway my manager came round to my house to discuss the issue and confirmed i would have to pay the money back, but she had come to an agreement that i could pay an amount out of my wage each month when i returned after mat leave. I told her then that i wasnt certain i was going back as 3 hour commute, long hours away from my son etc etc and she said in this case then i may be taken to court.

 

Now a few weeks later ( beginning of june)my manager came round and said that she spent 6 hours putting a case together and took it to the highest manager in the building and he agreed that it was their error not mine, i had tried to resolve with no luck and that the debt should be wiped!! to say i was relieved is an understatment - infact i cried lol now when she said this she also said that i was not to feel obliged to going back to work and that it wasnt subject to my return.

 

At the end of July i gave written confirmation that i would be returning back to work on flexi hours etc etc at end of Sept when my mat leave finishes, however when it came to it i couldnt face going back and actually was successful in getting a job pretty much on my doorstep, closer to home better hours so much better for me and my family, so i called my manager and explained the situation, she told me there was no point working my 4 weeks notice as 3 weeks would be re-training so waste of mine and trainers time!

 

But then this wiped £2000 has been brought back up and she said that they may decide that i do have to pay it back as it was only cleared on the understanding that i was going back to work (now this is totally untrue, she knew i had doubts about coming back, she said that i wasnt to feel obliged to go back, and also the debt was wiped in beginning of june but i didnt conf i was going back until end of july - so really dont understand this??!)

 

I am also owed 136 hours holiday pay acrued over my mat leave, now this is basically a months wage and a hell of alot of money for me and my partner and we had planned to use it to pay of a loan that we are struggling to pay off, but my manager is now saying that they are thinking of taking this holiday money and using it to ofset the £2000 maternity overpayment.

 

Can they do this? i dont understand how a debt can be wiped and then because i resign they decide actually i do have to pay it back and take my owed holiday pay?!

 

what can i do? please help!!!

 

thanks xx

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I'm afraid that the answer is rather simple. Do you have any evidence that the debt was written off? If you don't, it's your word against theirs, and they have evidence of the overpayment, so the debt is owed and legally enforceable. The fact that they made the error and didn't do something about it when you reported it is not legallt relevant - it is recoverable in law. You may be able to negotiate wit the employer but that's all. You could equally argue that knowing you were overpaid you should have kept the money to repay them - so you have had the money.

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I am a barrister specialising in employment law, and only represent employees. My advice on employment issues is advice - not legal opinion - and is based only on the facts you provide. If you want an accurate assessment of your case and prospects, you should get legal opinion from a lawyer - not a public forum. Anything I tell you is for guidance only, and is based on my experience of the law in the context of what details you provide.

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I never actually got anything in writing (i know stupid!!!!) but it would all be on the systems that the debt was written off and i have emails and texts from my manager.

 

What im desperate to know is if they can legally not pay my owed holiday and use it for this debt? i thought they can only use this with my permission?!

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Hello there. So in terms of written evidence, could you produce transcripts of your manager's emails and texts, for example? That could be very helpful for you.

 

Also, do you still have your contract of employment or employee booklet? If so, does it cover this sort of thing please?

 

HB

Illegitimi non carborundum

 

 

 

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I never actually got anything in writing (i know stupid!!!!) but it would all be on the systems that the debt was written off and i have emails and texts from my manager.

 

What im desperate to know is if they can legally not pay my owed holiday and use it for this debt? i thought they can only use this with my permission?!

 

If your employer agreed to write it off in writing (and you can evidence this) then it is written off - but did your manager have the employers authority to do this? Legally such a deduction does not need your permission. So if you can prove that you have had it written off you need to raise a grievance and say so. If you can prove it then a court would probably not enforce the debt. But it is down to you to prove you do not owe it.

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I am a barrister specialising in employment law, and only represent employees. My advice on employment issues is advice - not legal opinion - and is based only on the facts you provide. If you want an accurate assessment of your case and prospects, you should get legal opinion from a lawyer - not a public forum. Anything I tell you is for guidance only, and is based on my experience of the law in the context of what details you provide.

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