Your browser isn't supported
It looks like you're using an old web browser. To get the most out of the site and to ensure guides display correctly, we suggest upgrading your browser now. Download the latest:

Welcome to the MSE Forums

We're home to a fantastic community of MoneySavers but anyone can post. Please exercise caution & report spam, illegal, offensive or libellous posts/messages: click "report" or email forumteam@. Skimlinks & other affiliated links are turned on

Search
  • FIRST POST
    • Halfie
    • By Halfie 12th Jun 19, 3:31 PM
    • 100Posts
    • 108Thanks
    Halfie
    16 Year old Overpaid and left company
    • #1
    • 12th Jun 19, 3:31 PM
    16 Year old Overpaid and left company 12th Jun 19 at 3:31 PM
    Hi all

    Wondering if anyone can help with this one. My 16 year old son (who lives with his other parent, hence I've only just become aware of the situation) has been overpaid by his employer by some £300. He had been working with them on a casual/adhoc basis a couple of days a week during holidays and when he wasn't at school (exam season).

    When the overpayment came to light, the employer said they will take all of his wages from his next 2 months pay. In his immature ignorance, he has decided to quit his job because the boss was giving him earache about his work and he didn't want to "work for 2 months for free!" (I have explained he's already spent this money so now needs to earn it retrospectively).

    Now they are saying he needs to repay the money immediately or it will be treated as theft. Now, he needs to pay the money back of course, but he has no other employment &no income of any sort as he is between GCSEs and college and doesn't have anything of value to sell.

    Any thoughts on how to handle this? Should he offer a token payment of £1 a month until he is able to get another part time job and then look to set up another arrangement? What recourse would the company have in dealing with this matter in terms of the threat of dealing with this as theft or any other avenues?

    Many thanks
    Last edited by Halfie; 12-06-2019 at 5:09 PM.
Page 2
    • Halfie
    • By Halfie 13th Jun 19, 5:56 AM
    • 100 Posts
    • 108 Thanks
    Halfie
    Does your son understand that his next employer may require a reference from this one?

    Does he understand that failing to pay back debts is not the kind of behaviour that is conducive to getting future credit?

    Personally I wouldn’t want my child to start out his adult life with a view that he could act like this. Things like this have a nasty habit of biting people on the !!!! long after they think are forgotten about.
    Originally posted by SpiderLegs
    At what point have I said that he’s not responsible for paying this back or that he won’t be? And I’m not sure what you mean by “act like this”. Act like what exactly? Like a 16 year old child who doesn’t know how to deal with this so has asked his parent to help (and has been told multiple times he’s responsible for this issue and will have to pay it back).
    • Halfie
    • By Halfie 13th Jun 19, 6:00 AM
    • 100 Posts
    • 108 Thanks
    Halfie
    For a 16 year old I wouldn't want his 'mistakes' to count against him long term in the wider world so probably would be paying on his behalf once the correct amount is proven.

    He would however be paying me back, even if payback comes in the form of no Birthday or Christmas gifts, reduced phone tariff and cancelled treats - whatever 'luxuries' you currently provide as one parent.

    Not sure why he can't get another temporary job over the summer though?
    Originally posted by warby68
    This is my thinking as well, as he doesn’t have any income so...

    Summer jobs are few and far between and he’s 16 so very limited on what he can do where he lives due to various factors. Of course, he will be pushed to get something so he can repay this.
    • Exodi
    • By Exodi 13th Jun 19, 8:18 AM
    • 854 Posts
    • 1,081 Thanks
    Exodi
    Has it been lost on people that he was overpaid two months wages? You really think he didn't notice?

    I do worry about that all the people advising "it may not be enforceable as he's a minor!", "they probably wouldn't take him to court for such a small sum", "could this be constructive dismissal?" etc.

    Fantastic lesson to teach an impressionable 16 year old - don't worry if you owe people money, just dodge out of it on technicalities.

    Such a truly sad thread to read.

    Really he should negotiate that they take him back and take half his salary towards repayments or he gets a new job.
    Know what you don't
    • warby68
    • By warby68 13th Jun 19, 8:32 AM
    • 1,362 Posts
    • 10,875 Thanks
    warby68
    Has it been lost on people that he was overpaid two months wages? You really think he didn't notice?

    I do worry about that all the people advising "it may not be enforceable as he's a minor!", "they probably wouldn't take him to court for such a small sum", "could this be constructive dismissal?" etc.

    Fantastic lesson to teach an impressionable 16 year old - don't worry if you owe people money, just dodge out of it on technicalities.

    Such a truly sad thread to read.

    Really he should negotiate that they take him back and take half his salary towards repayments or he gets a new job.
    Originally posted by Exodi
    Agree 100%
    • General Grant
    • By General Grant 13th Jun 19, 8:33 AM
    • 1,160 Posts
    • 1,077 Thanks
    General Grant
    Has it been lost on people that he was overpaid two months wages? You really think he didn't notice?

    . . .
    Originally posted by Exodi
    That was definitely lost on me. I thought it was £300 which had been over-paid and that the employer was proposing to reclaim it over two months.

    So it could have been a £50/month overpayment for 6 pay periods and perhaps not so easy to detect if it had arisen by, for instance, paying an adult hourly rate instead of paying a legally lower rate.
    • Exodi
    • By Exodi 13th Jun 19, 9:02 AM
    • 854 Posts
    • 1,081 Thanks
    Exodi
    That was definitely lost on me. I thought it was £300 which had been over-paid and that the employer was proposing to reclaim it over two months.

    So it could have been a £50/month overpayment for 6 pay periods and perhaps not so easy to detect if it had arisen by, for instance, paying an adult hourly rate instead of paying a legally lower rate.
    Originally posted by General Grant
    I'm not sure if you're being sarcastic but by the OP stating her son deemed he would be working two months for free, we can deduce he is paid £150 per month (and explicitly states that this is paid monthly). The OP also states he's doing this job during exam season (which based upon the date suggests he would have started in the past few or two). Whilst we don't know the exact periods of over-payment (and I'd appreciate the OP's clarification on the matter) it would seem unlikely this was a minor over-payment over a length period. In fact, I'd hazard a guess he's worked there for two months and agree with your suggestion that he was likely being paid at the over 25 NMW rate (which is around double that of the under NMW 18 rate).

    The reason I find it incredulous that he was unaware was a) it's likely over a very short period b) I actually remember when I got my first job at his age; I was incredibly aware of what my wage was. As a bonus of being under the tax threshold it was easy to work out (if I work 40 hours this month and I earn £4 an hour, I should get paid £160, and I'd get a payslip to back it up - don't forget these kids are taking exams on trigonometry and Pythagorean theorem, I'm sure basic multiplication shouldn't be a sweat.

    EDIT: the issue of whether the son was aware or not of the overpayments is a moot point in these discussions however, my taking issue was almost entirely at people freely offering suggestions to dodge liability of his debt.
    Last edited by Exodi; 13-06-2019 at 9:06 AM.
    Know what you don't
    • Gavin83
    • By Gavin83 13th Jun 19, 11:19 AM
    • 6,224 Posts
    • 10,726 Thanks
    Gavin83
    Has it been lost on people that he was overpaid two months wages? You really think he didn't notice?

    I do worry about that all the people advising "it may not be enforceable as he's a minor!", "they probably wouldn't take him to court for such a small sum", "could this be constructive dismissal?" etc.

    Fantastic lesson to teach an impressionable 16 year old - don't worry if you owe people money, just dodge out of it on technicalities.

    Such a truly sad thread to read.

    Really he should negotiate that they take him back and take half his salary towards repayments or he gets a new job.
    Originally posted by Exodi
    Couldn't agree more. I'm stunned there are people suggesting this could actually be constructive dismissal.

    My advice would have been the same. I'd suggest he talk to the company, explain he has no other job and no real assets and therefore can't pay it back but he'd be willing to work the time to make up the shortfall. I'd be surprised if they refused.

    However I do agree with the others, they need to prove the discrepancy and provide a breakdown.
    • TBagpuss
    • By TBagpuss 13th Jun 19, 12:52 PM
    • 7,594 Posts
    • 9,882 Thanks
    TBagpuss
    I don't necessarily find it unbelievable that he didn't realise. Not every 16 year old would know what the NMW was or question it if the employer used the wrong figure. Heck, a lot of adults don't know what the numbers are.
    A lot of adults don't check pay slips or bank statments and just assume that the employer is getting the figures right.

    I think it is appropriate for him to ask for a break down, and also to check his paperwork. Did he get a formal offer letter or a contract which set out the correct rates?
    • DigForVictory
    • By DigForVictory 13th Jun 19, 2:07 PM
    • 10,149 Posts
    • 35,453 Thanks
    DigForVictory
    One of my lads was working cash in hand at a garden centre & got very upset with us (his parents) for researching NMW rates, how many hours you could legally work as a 16 year old etc. We just pointed out that while he chose to be taken advantage of, it wasn't right & it wasn't legal & that above all else it was stopping at the New Year as he had exams.

    12 months later, I heard him laying out the same legislation & logic as we'd used, to a mate thinking of a holiday funded by a little cash in hand job. Not my business to ask, but I was amused he'd remembered that particular lesson. He was in a good place to speak from, having been there & having A levels & an apprenticeship to go to.

    The business employing should be keeping proper records & if they are not & are employing a child at the wrong rate then they have put themselves & the lad in a difficult position. It's not a good start to a career to be landed a sideways blow by the boss' record-keeping. It's in both their interests to sort it & smooth it over for now & the future.
    • gaz_moose
    • By gaz_moose 13th Jun 19, 8:10 PM
    • 43 Posts
    • 20 Thanks
    gaz_moose
    I would tell him to wait and see what they come back at him with. 'play the game' and it might pan out that he does not have to end up repaying their mistake. best case he is £300 up.

    teaching him to bend over and repay them straight away is not a good 'life lesson' in my book.
    • Les79
    • By Les79 13th Jun 19, 8:55 PM
    • 1,424 Posts
    • 1,568 Thanks
    Les79
    Has it been lost on people that he was overpaid two months wages? You really think he didn't notice?

    I do worry about that all the people advising "it may not be enforceable as he's a minor!", "they probably wouldn't take him to court for such a small sum", "could this be constructive dismissal?" etc.

    Fantastic lesson to teach an impressionable 16 year old - don't worry if you owe people money, just dodge out of it on technicalities.

    Such a truly sad thread to read.

    Really he should negotiate that they take him back and take half his salary towards repayments or he gets a new job.
    Originally posted by Exodi
    I stand by my "constructive dismissal" query.

    Irrespective of whether or not he noticed the overpayments, many people in this country would struggle to function if their employer turned round and said "you're getting £0 for the next two months because of an overpayment". You could potentially frame it as a serious breach of contract, though as I pointed out in previous post the .GOV site is a bit vague and seems to suggest that they CAN do it!! So I may be chatting wham here (never any harm in speculating)

    Though, admittedly, it is a bit moot for a 16 year old. But always good to keep it in mind for the future One gripe of mine in relation to the UK educational system is that we don't teach children:

    - Basic life skills relating to money/finance

    - Basic life skills relating to consumer/employment rights

    But I will agree with you (and my post reflected this, I believe) in that the debt needs to be paid. Also that SPEAKING TO THE EMPLOYER and getting a fair repayment plan is the most sensible solution
    Last edited by Les79; 13-06-2019 at 9:09 PM.
    • getmore4less
    • By getmore4less 14th Jun 19, 5:41 AM
    • 37,403 Posts
    • 23,082 Thanks
    getmore4less
    the .GOV site is a bit vague and seems to suggest that they CAN do it!!
    the .gov site is a condensed version of the law.

    here is what the law says(subject to case law interpritations)
    https://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1996/18/part/II
    read sections 13-16

    The employer can ask for all the money back immediately(section 15,16) and then pay as normal.

    By offering the employee a extended payment plan they have gone beyond what is required.

    A counter offer would have been a better initial response,
    After checking the calculations were correct(including any tax/NI adjustments needed) asking for an extended repayment period would have been an option and there was also the option to use any accrued holiday pay.
    • warby68
    • By warby68 14th Jun 19, 6:06 AM
    • 1,362 Posts
    • 10,875 Thanks
    warby68
    I would tell him to wait and see what they come back at him with. 'play the game' and it might pan out that he does not have to end up repaying their mistake. best case he is £300 up.

    teaching him to bend over and repay them straight away is not a good 'life lesson' in my book.
    Originally posted by gaz_moose
    That's why the payment suggestions involved getting proof of the amount owed from the business first and agreeing a reasonable repayment plan once that is established.

    Head down and hope it goes away is not playing the game, unless that game is gambling.
    • Les79
    • By Les79 14th Jun 19, 5:23 PM
    • 1,424 Posts
    • 1,568 Thanks
    Les79
    the .gov site is a condensed version of the law.

    here is what the law says(subject to case law interpritations)
    https://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1996/18/part/II
    read sections 13-16

    The employer can ask for all the money back immediately(section 15,16) and then pay as normal.

    By offering the employee a extended payment plan they have gone beyond what is required.

    A counter offer would have been a better initial response,
    After checking the calculations were correct(including any tax/NI adjustments needed) asking for an extended repayment period would have been an option and there was also the option to use any accrued holiday pay.
    Originally posted by getmore4less
    Excellent!

    So my "constructive dismissal" query seems not to be applicable. Happy with that like, but hopefully that (and further recommendations made) will assist OP.
    • Marcon
    • By Marcon 14th Jun 19, 6:22 PM
    • 1,266 Posts
    • 1,002 Thanks
    Marcon
    If the child genuinely didn't realise he had been overpaid (and that is a very big 'if'), then he could argue something known as a 'change of position' defence and it would probably succeed.

    Having said that, I'm with all those who think he should NOT be encouraged to wriggle out of this debt, unless he can really demonstrate that he believed being paid double the amount due just didn't cross his little mind as possibly being wrong....
    • Kentish Dave
    • By Kentish Dave 14th Jun 19, 7:01 PM
    • 806 Posts
    • 1,492 Thanks
    Kentish Dave
    At what point have I said that he’s not responsible for paying this back or that he won’t be? And I’m not sure what you mean by “act like this”. Act like what exactly?
    Originally posted by Halfie
    Act like the sort of person that knew they were being overpaid and when found, rather than doing the right thing and working it off threw a paddy and ran away from their problem.

    He’s your son, and you want to defend him, but his behaviour here is more than just a little bit council.
    • Kentish Dave
    • By Kentish Dave 14th Jun 19, 7:05 PM
    • 806 Posts
    • 1,492 Thanks
    Kentish Dave
    Couldn't agree more. I'm stunned there are people suggesting this could actually be constructive dismissal.
    Originally posted by Gavin83
    Some people are all about their rights, and care nothing for their responsibilities. Best the rest of us can do is steer clear of them.
    • Les79
    • By Les79 14th Jun 19, 7:36 PM
    • 1,424 Posts
    • 1,568 Thanks
    Les79
    Some people are all about their rights, and care nothing for their responsibilities. Best the rest of us can do is steer clear of them.
    Originally posted by Kentish Dave

    I was the person who initially brought up the possibility of "constructive dismissal", but in the same post I also said:

    So I have a bit of sympathy for your son, but yea I think he needs to learn a lesson about how to deal with things properly. In the future, and if a situation like this rears its ugly head, quitting on the spot may not be a viable option...
    by me
    Ever heard the phrase "cherry-picking"?

    It effectively means that, despite making a query with regard to OP's son's "rights", the "responsibilities" element of my post was not acknowledged/credited.

    Some people are all about having quite a closed-mind, and care nothing for exploring all possibilities. Best the rest of us can do is steer clear of them.
    • deannatrois
    • By deannatrois 15th Jun 19, 2:40 AM
    • 6,313 Posts
    • 8,890 Thanks
    deannatrois
    This is quite a life lesson. I probably would have done what another parent on here has done, made sure he knew what he should be paid, negotiated what hours he would work (with him), given exams are happening, talked about holiday pay etc to help prepare him for the world of work.

    However, I would also be aware that at his low rate of pay, low no. of hours a £300 overpayment is kindof unmissable. Yes people can be gormless, but there's gormless (ignorant) and not wanting to know lol.

    I suspect he was probably paid an 'adult' rate and was told he'd get the 16 year old apprenticeship rate of £4.20 - £4.35 an hour https://www.rossmartin.co.uk/tax-guides/147-national-minimum-wage-rates.

    So I suspect there is probably some room for manoeuvre with the company.

    But I think its really important to go through all this with your son. Is there text or written proof of what the company offered him per hour? Is it national minimum wage? Holiday pay should have accrued (this could be taken off the £300). Just go through it with your son so he is able to prevent anything like this happening again and knows what questions to ask employers/himself.

    I was 'loaned' some money by an employer once, verbally told it would come out of my Xmas bonus when I made it clear, thank you very much but I can't pay it back. Of course, she took it out of next month's pay, left me in awful strife and nothing I could do. I'd taken the loan. Will never ever happen again. Any financial matters I get in writing. Yes I did leave very shortly after that, couldn't trust the woman, she knew I was in trouble financially, must have known the effect what she'd done would have.

    So I can understand your son refusing to work, but he will have to make arrangements to pay the money back. However it was unreasonable for the employer to expect him to work for nothing for two months as well. No one would react well to that. I assume it is a very small company? A reasonable payment plan would have been much better. He actually could have worked til September, when most colleges etc restart.

    But check the figures with your son as explained above and as already suggested, ask for a breakdown of what was paid, when. Take off the balance any holiday pay that should have accrued.
    Last edited by deannatrois; 15-06-2019 at 2:44 AM.
    • Marcon
    • By Marcon 15th Jun 19, 5:10 PM
    • 1,266 Posts
    • 1,002 Thanks
    Marcon
    They are bullying you.
    Originally posted by shrooms
    Nonsense. They are quite reasonably expecting an overpayment to be refunded.
Welcome to our new Forum!

Our aim is to save you money quickly and easily. We hope you like it!

Forum Team Contact us

Live Stats

2,337Posts Today

7,221Users online

Martin's Twitter