Want to talk to an expert employment law solicitor?

You'll receive a callback from a specialist within an hour

The recovering of unpaid wages can be an embarrassing situation for an employer to be put in. Businesses obviously want to pay their workers only what they’re due – they have to make a profit, after all. However, employers must bear two issues in mind if they have overpaid their workers in wages. Firstly, employers must act in accordance with the law in recovering the money that they believe has been overpaid. Secondly, recovering overpayments of wages can cause employers embarrassment and can damage the morale of their workers.

There are four issues that an employer should consider in attempting to recover an overpayment of wages to a worker:

  1. Has an overpayment actually been made?
  2. What is the value of the overpayment?
  3. What are the legal routes through which an employer can recover the value of the overpayment?
  4. How can the employee stop the employer recovering the overpayment?

Has an overpayment actually been made?

The first issue that should be considered is the obvious one of whether an overpayment has actually been made. This is a crucial consideration – if the employer attempts to deduct money from the worker’s wages as a result of a false belief and is taken to the Employment Tribunal then they may be the subject of potentially expensive and lengthy proceedings. It’s important, therefore, that the employer gather all evidence possible of the overpayment and that the evidence is presented to the employee. Although the presenting of the evidence is not strictly necessary it may stop the worker from reverting to Employment Tribunal proceedings.

What is the value of the overpayment?

Again, this is a fairly obvious consideration. The employer won’t want to collect too little from the worker but then again collecting too much can cause damage to morale (as the employer is seen as unfair). However, an important consideration is that the employer is to a certain extent protected from having proceedings issued against them if they mistakenly but honestly collect too much money from the employee’s wages as compensation for the previous overpayment.

What are the legal routes through which an employer can recover the value of the overpayment?

An employer can deduct sums from the wages of its workers if it honestly believes that an overpayment has been made.

How can the employee stop the employer from recovering the overpayment?

An employee cannot bar an employer from recovering overpayments by deducting sums from their wages if such an overpayment has in fact occurred. However, the important element, as stated above, is to be sure that an overpayment has occurred.

An employee can also use the defence of common law promissory estoppel to prevent their employer from reclaiming overpaid wages. To qualify for protection under promissory estoppel the employee must satisfy 3 conditions:

  1. That their employer made representations of fact that entitled them to believe that the sum if money overpaid was theirs; and
  2. That the employee has “changed their position” (by spending some or all of the money) and in doing so acted in good faith and without notice that their employer wished to recoup the overpayment; and
  3. That the employee was not primarily at fault for the mistake

 

About

Redmans Employment Team deal with employment matters for both employers and employees, including drafting employment contracts and policies, advising employers and employees on compromise agreements, handling day-to-day HR issues, advising on restructures, and handling Employment Tribunal cases for both employers and employees Call 020 3397 3603 to speak to one of the members of our employment team or email us on enquiries@redmans.co.uk. Redmans have offices in Richmond, Chiswick, Hammersmith, Fulham, Kingston, Wimbledon, Ealing, Kings Cross and Marylebone (meetings strictly by appointment only).

Tagged with →  

Want to talk to an expert employment law solicitor?

You'll receive a callback from a specialist within an hour

Share →

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

 

Our awards

Request a callback

Your name

Your email

Your telephone number

Contact us

Please feel free to discuss your own position and concerns. Contact your nearest office on:

T: 020 3397 3603
E: enquiries@redmans.co.uk
W: www.redmans.co.uk

Testimonials

4.76 Average

124 Reviews

Brittany

I was very grateful for Redmans to treat my case with respect and discretion. At the time, I was very new to London and it was meaningful to have someone on my side and win the case for me. Without any doubt, I would definitely recommend Redmans Solicitors to anyone who is in need of it.

Posted 4 months ago

Jake L

Chris is very professional and calm. Very attentive and patient, been a positive experience having Chris represent me, and would recommend him.

Posted 5 months ago

Anonymous

Excellent service. It was a pleasure to work with Chris H, who is brilliant at what he does and very efficient. Their Senior Associate Rana T. is also very knowledgeable and resolves any queries speedily and efficiently. My issue could unfortunately not be resolved, but that was due to my employer and not the firm. Redmans however did all they could. I would definitely recommend them.

Posted 5 months ago

Anonymous

Very pleasant and quick to deal with. Mnay thanks.

Posted 5 months ago

Anonymous

Easy to get hold of. Quick.

Posted 5 months ago

Owen J

Very helpful, efficient service.

Posted 5 months ago

Anonymous

I am very lucky that I worked with Mr. Chris Hadrill and he managed my case very progressively with an analytical approach and trustfully. Of course with a very positive result. I strongly recommend Mr. Hadrill to any one seeking for a successful result from a highly qualified solicitor.

Posted 6 months ago

Kulbir S

Amazing, quick friendly service from Chris from the start and Caroline. They made me feel at ease during a difficult time, they understood and advised accordingly and I am really happy with the outcome of my case. Will always advise anyone who needs legal advice to contact Redmans, I’m so glad that I did and can confidently say I don’t think any other firm could have handled my case any better. Well done guys, wish you all the best and please keep doing what your doing, simply the best!

Posted 6 months ago

Mark A

Excellent service - rapid and “to the point” advice given to ensure meeting the target time frame

Posted 6 months ago

Anonymous

Chris Hadrill kept me sane during the negotiations with my employer. He was courteous professional and he cared about doing the best he could for me. I will use Redmans again if ever I need an employment solicitor. Excellent service.

Posted 6 months ago

Muhammad Z

Awesome services. Professionals at their best .

Posted 6 months ago

Anonymous

Thanks for the advice and for negotiating a good outcome. Good to have the support at a very stressful time

Posted 6 months ago

Chloe F

My solicitor at Redmans was very helpful and efficient. Really pleased with the smooth service.

Posted 6 months ago

Anonymous

Chris was absolutely excellent. Clear and concise, offering sound advice.

Posted 6 months ago

Tim O

Experienced and competent advisors

Posted 6 months ago

Rachel A

Quick and expert assistance. I would highly recommend Chris for any of your legal needs.

Posted 6 months ago

Joe S

I was very happy with the service provided by Chris and the team at Redmans Solicitors. I felt very comfortable discussing all matters with Chris and am very grateful for all the help and guidance I was given throughout the whole process. I would definitely recommend Redmans Solicitors to friends and family!

Posted 6 months ago

Anonymous

I had a very good experience working with Chris Hadrill during a difficult and emotional time. This held true from the moment I spoke to him on the phone, to the end of the process. Overall, he was attentive, professional and highly supportive. He provided sound advice and clarity. It was the reviews that led me to Redmans! I was very happy to know they were all true. I highly recommend working with Redmans Solicitors. Thank-you to the entire team!

Posted 6 months ago

Anonymous

Good service

Posted 6 months ago

Anonymous

Excellent professional service. Highly recommend.

Posted 6 months ago

Rob O

Very prompt response and I could not fault the service. My solicitor listened carefully to the details of my case and I felt very confident in the advice I was offered. All emails and work done on my behalf with my former employer was of the highest standard and Redmans helped take a lot of the stress out of the situation for me.

Posted 7 months ago