Pay & benefits

Pay & Benefits

My employer has accidentally been overpaying my salary and I didn’t realise. Can my employer reclaim these sums?

Yes, employers have a statutory right to recover an accidental overpayment of wages, by deducting the overpayment from your future salary, where the overpayment is discovered relatively quickly.

However the position is more complex if you have been received overpayments for a long period of time (perhaps some many months or longer). If you genuinely believed you were entitled to the payments and you have spent it, you may be able to raise a defence against repayment. A lot will depend on the individual facts of each case.

Does it make any difference to an overpayment of wages if I have already left employment?

If you have already left employment, then clearly a deduction from future salary payments can’t be made. Your employer will doubtless try to agree a repayment timetable with you, and if this cannot be achieved, they could issue legal proceedings for recovery in the County Court. You would still have the same defence referred to above, namely that you have changed your position by already spending the funds, and so it would be inequitable for your ex-employer to seek recovery.

What is the present National Minimum Wage?

Workers aged 25 and over are entitled to £8.21 per hour (this is referred to the “national living wage rate”). Workers aged 21 or over but under 25 are entitled to £7.70 per hour. Workers aged 18 or over but under 21 are entitled to £6.15 per hour. Workers under 18 who are no longer of compulsory school age are entitled to £4.35 per hour. These rates are effective from 1st April 2019.