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Money Moral Dilemma: Should I tell my employer it has overpaid me?

edited 30 November -1 at 1:00AM in Employment, Jobseeking & Training
54 replies 38.7K views


  • welf_manwelf_man Forumite
    564 posts
    So you're struggling to decide whether or not to defraud your employer?

    I think many of us would like to know your name so we can be sure not to recruit you!
    Though no-one can go back and make a brand-new start, anyone can start from now and make a brand-new ending.

    (Laurie Taylor, THE no. 1864)
  • leopoldleopold Forumite
    22 posts
    Give it back to them as soon as you can. It's not your money, so you can't keep it.

    I had this happen to me once, when I was doing my A levels and working in a supermarket, where I was paid cash weekly. I'd worked a lot of overtime over the summer holidays and wasn't paid it for a number of weeks, despite asking every time. Finally, one Saturday, I turned up and had a huge wodge of cash for overtime payments, but I didn't have the details with me to check if it was right. I did that the following day and found it was a little too much, but as I was now back at college, I didn't get the chance to speak to anyone until the following Saturday - where I was greeted by the store's assistant manager who hauled me into the manager's office (with the store manager) to interrogate me as to why I'd not told them about being overpaid. I explained the situation to them, told them I'd been owed many hours of overtime for several weeks and when I checked I noted I'd got 2.5 hours too much, which I then offered to them in the payslip envelope (they didn't take it). Apparently, it was all overtime which was owed to another employee who hadn't received a penny and had duly complained. It all got sorted out in the room and luckily for me all I suffered was a dressing down, but it could've been a lot worse, based on some of the things I was hearing.
  • Definitely. Apart from anything else, the employer is entitled to claim the overpayments back from you if they later come to light, which could leave you short of money. Also, if you want a permanent promotion in the future, you want them to know you are honest and dependable
  • Apart from (obviously), having to notify the employer and arranging to repay, you could run into Tax and National Insurance difficulties if you do not do so promptly.

    You will have been taxed and charged NI on the overpayment and this could create difficulties, particularly if you do not make the repayment and your employer does not make the necessary adjustment, before the end of the tax year (5th April).

    Usually, relatively small overpayments can be offset against the next month’s salary but, in any case, you must make sure that the repayment is fully reflected in your employers’ PAYE and NI records. If you do not, you will run the risk of paying too much to the Government!
  • EP78EP78 Forumite
    1 posts
    As someone who has been working in Payroll for the last 15+ years, my advice is simple; the money was paid to you in error and you are obliged to return the money to your employer. YOU SHOULD NOT SPEND IT!!

    This happened a few times at my place of work, and it was always identified and requested back. That's when employees "play dumb" and pretend that they didn't know that they had been paid more and now that they've spent it all, can it be repaid over a few months... blah blah, sob sob.

    These are the same people who if they're underpaid by £5, would be the first to knock on the door and ask where their money is... *sigh*
  • LewieLewie Forumite
    314 posts
    100 Posts
    The op is asking a question.
    The fact that they are asking the question tells me they know it's wrong to keep the money.
    Either that or they are winding you up.
    If so, it's worked.
  • crmismcrmism Forumite
    205 posts
    Fourth Anniversary 100 Posts
    I find it difficult to believe that someone would have the gall to pose a question such as this knowing that, while the Accounts Department has made a mistake, you are undecided whether to do the decent thing.

    Ask yourself what you will do if your employer continues to overpay you every month, ie will you keep the money and say nothing, or own up, like any honest, decent person with integrity would do? If the former, then sooner or later the error will come to light, and what will your employer think of you then? He or she would wave goodbye to any thoughts you might have of further promotion.
  • wonkowonko Forumite
    67 posts
    10 Posts
    Perhaps you may enjoy these radio programmes?

    Delivered without a Po-face ;)
    JillieA wrote: »
    Goodness me, what a po-faced lot of advisers we have this time!
  • The short answer is YES, Think about it, - What would you do if the employer had forgotten to pay you this allowance?

    There is no circumstance that would allow you to keep this extra money
  • BFH6BABFH6BA Forumite
    1 posts
    Would you tell them if they underpaid you? Of course you would, cos' you'd want fair play.
    You are dishonest & IMMORAL of you don't advise them of overpay. They will find out in the end anyway.
    Put it this way, if you worked for me and showed dishonesty like that, I'd FIRE you at the earliest opportunity as untrustworthy. It wouldn't look good on your CV...
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