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Payroll Error

3 replies 219 views
Truth2020Truth2020 Forumite
1 posts
MoneySaving Newbie
Hi there,
I do hope everyone is safe and well. I need some clean cut advice.
My employer paid me whilst I was on a sabbatical - for a whole year in 2018 to 2019. At the time of the first and 2nd payment (Monthly) I told the then 'stand in' manager 2 months into the sabbatical I was being paid and he said he would sort it. I never heard a thing back from him. I assumed this was correct as he didn't tell me otherwise. I had no access to company systems whilst on this sabbatical email/phone/mobile contact. I was in a very rural part of the country so communication was very difficult.

They (My employer) are demanding the whole money to be paid back (in installments) over an agreed period. The error was down to the company and the manager not following procedure but neither can be proved. My word against his. Where do I stand legally? My Union are insisting the Company take their side of the liability for poor procedure and mismanagement of the situation. This has rolled on for nearly 2 years (from the time they started to pay me) without any resolution or conclusion. I wondered what your thoughts are on this situation. It's been a stressful time on top of Covid-19 (please don't think I am not blind and I'm very grateful to have a job I know other people on here do not and their prospects are not like mine.) The money is not there to be paid back. Luckily I'm employed still and continue to do so for the foreseeable future. The relationship between myself & the higher management is somewhat strained and has been for a long time. My immediate manager is not aware of the situation (I suspect) and therefore treats me no differently. Please can you advise on my legal rights to this case. Many thanks, and stay safe all of you. Much love and respect to the MSE family. Kind regards,



  • edited 4 June at 3:36PM
    soolinsoolin Forumite, Board Guide
    66K posts
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    edited 4 June at 3:36PM
    If your union thinks you have a case for some of the overpayment to be retained at no cost to yourself I can’t really see how anyone here can assist you further, let your union sort it out.

    However, if you were seriously unavailable for a full year (and your post suggests this country which seems unlikely)  then surely the full years money should have been available, if you didn’t know you had it then you couldn’t have spent it. Also, if you had no access to anything including your bank accounts then again the money couldn’t have been spent.

    I believe it is a rather naive position to think that as long as you don’t make any attempt to pay the money back it is automatically yours to keep, this has never been the case. Personally I would be working with your union and management to work out a repayment plan that suits you both and gives you a realistic chance to pay it back without causing you hardship, perhaps if the union can negotiate a lower percentage to pay back then all to the good. 
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  • Manxman_in_exileManxman_in_exile Forumite
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    You were aware of the mistaken salary payments in the first two months of your sabbatical, but then you didn't notice them in each of the remaining ten months, and you've spent the money even though you didn't know it was there?  Have you an explanation as to how you lost track of (and spent!) a whole year's worth of salary you weren't entitled to?  Surely you must have had access to your bank account as managing your finances must be even more important than usual if you're on unpaid sabbatical for a year.

    I assume you understand why your union think you have a good case not to repay the full amount.  Can you say what that reason is?
  • BrynsamBrynsam Forumite
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    Truth2020 said:
    Where do I stand legally? My Union are insisting the Company take their side of the liability for poor procedure and mismanagement of the situation. 
    The legal position is very clear: you need to repay. You knew you were being paid when you weren't entitled to the cash, so trying to argue a 'change of position' defence ("can't repay, I've spent it") won't wash.

    Agree an affordable repayment schedule with the company and agree it as soon as you can, or the situation will just drag on doing nobody any favours.
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