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View Full Version : Can your job force you to pay back an overpayment?


King Friday
04-28-2006, 04:07 PM
A friend of mine (seriously, it's not me) had a job as a firefighter. She injured herself to the point that she had to take a secretary job within the same company. She was receiving a 16% differential for being a firefighter rather than a secretary, and she continued to receive it after her job change. This had gone on since January and she just realized it on her last pay stub so she went to HR to ask them about it. They said it was a mistake and she has to pay back everything that they gave her by mistake.

Can they do that?

dolphinboy
04-28-2006, 04:13 PM
Yes. She was paid extra in error. I believe there is a current case regarding soldiers who were getting combat pay even after they had been sent back home after they were wounded. The government is going after them for the excess pay. These are "ill gotten gains". It's the same as if a bank accidentally deposits money in your account and then realizes it later...

Airman Doors, USAF
04-28-2006, 04:16 PM
Yep. I've had numerous debt repayments with the military (all of which were their fault, I might add...), one of which caused me to go without pay for an entire month. That one hurt.

Sunspace
04-28-2006, 04:33 PM
I got double my pay once. I discovered this on payday when I went to the machine and paid my bills and got out money and everything, then realised I had 1400 dollars left.

They didn't take the extra back, but instead, basically didn't pay me the next payday. I had to hang on to spendable cash for an entire month.

SSG Schwartz
04-28-2006, 04:39 PM
In the military, as Airman Doors has stated, you don't have to pay it back, but they will subtract it from you next paycheck. I learned the hard way that if you think you are getting paid too much, it never hurts to go see whomever is responsible for paying you. A month of No Pay Due is never a good thing.

Sgt Schwartz

Harriet the Spry
04-28-2006, 04:42 PM
If it is an error, yes, they can make her pay it back. If she refuses, they can fire her and take her to court to get the money back.

Especially if her injury was on the job, she might want to check with her union if she has one, or regarding any disability insurance she has. As a firefighter she just might have some type of income-protection insurance.

A.R. Cane
04-28-2006, 05:20 PM
In regards to military pay: There was (I retired in '79) a provision in Navy Regs. that allowed for exceptions in cases where the member wouldn't ordinarily be aware and/or where it would cause a financial hardship if an overpayment was subsequently deducted from the members pay. Military pay can be quite confusing in some cases and this might be especially true if the member is hospitalized. The exception was not automatic, but had to be requested. This makes me wonder at this story about requiring wounded military members repay the combat pay. I'm not certain that the provision still exists, or if it applies to tha Army/Air Force, but I think it's likely that it does.
In the case cited in the OP, I would suggest that appropriate civil service regs. and/or union contract agreements apply.

Yeticus Rex
04-28-2006, 05:49 PM
Actually, it depends on the states' labor laws. In California, an employer has to take you to court to recover the costs, but they cannot take it out of your next paycheck nor have you pay them back immediately.

What state is she in?

King Friday
04-28-2006, 07:32 PM
Actually, it depends on the states' labor laws. In California, an employer has to take you to court to recover the costs, but they cannot take it out of your next paycheck nor have you pay them back immediately.

What state is she in?

She's in Maryland, and it's a government job, if that means anything.

groman
04-28-2006, 07:40 PM
Yes. She was paid extra in error. I believe there is a current case regarding soldiers who were getting combat pay even after they had been sent back home after they were wounded. The government is going after them for the excess pay. These are "ill gotten gains". It's the same as if a bank accidentally deposits money in your account and then realizes it later...

This depends on the bank. I believe my bank will let you keep any bank error in your favour up to a certain limit as a matter of policy. My stepfather once had a $1000 deposit he did not make show up in the account, he called the bank and not only did they let him keep it they sent him a letter of apology for their mistake as well.

King Friday
04-28-2006, 08:58 PM
This depends on the bank. I believe my bank will let you keep any bank error in your favour up to a certain limit as a matter of policy. My stepfather once had a $1000 deposit he did not make show up in the account, he called the bank and not only did they let him keep it they sent him a letter of apology for their mistake as well.

Wasn't that on an episode of Friends?

Eva Luna
04-28-2006, 09:53 PM
Was she injured on the job? If so, it's potentially a worker's comp issue. She should check with the Dept. of Labor and/or a competent worker's comp attorney in her state.