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If your employer is stating that you’ve been overpaid wages and is trying to recover these from you then you have a number of options open to you to defend such an action. In this post we’ll take a look at the following issues:

  1. The definition of wages
  2. When is an employee overpaid?
  3. When can your employer try and recover overpayments?
  4. What options are open to employees if their employer tries to recover overpayments?

The definition of wages

The definition of wages is a wide one. It includes any sums payable to the worker by their employer in connection with their employment, including salary, bonus, commission, company car (if for business use), living allowance, and so on. What the extent and value of wages are in any instance is particular to the facts of the situation.

When is an employee overpaid?

Overpayments normally occur because of an administrative mistake on the behalf of the employer. The employee is either paid a one-off payment which is in excess of the sum that they should have received under their contract of employment or they receive multiple (possibly regular) payments which are in excess of the sums that they should have received. Again, whether an employee has been overpaid and the extent of the overpayment is particular to the facts of the individual situation.

When can an employer try and recover overpayments?

An employer can try and recover sums from an employee if there has in fact been an overpayment. Whether an overpayment has occurred is a situation which is often in dispute and is something that employees can seek to contest. Should there be a genuine dispute about whether an overpayment of wages has occurred then the employee is entitled to submit a claim to the Employment Tribunal under UK employment law. Should there not be a dispute about whether an overpayment of wages has occurred then the employee is not entitled to submit a claim to the Employment Tribunal but may submit take their complaint to the County Court (or High Court, depending upon the value of the overpayment and the complexity of the matter).

What options are open to employees if their employer tries to recover overpayments?

An employee has a number of options open to defend an action for repayment of wages by their employer. They may assert that there has not in fact been an overpayment. However, it is often clear on the facts whether there has been an overpayment and employers are normally not keen to demoralise employees by pursuing actions for overpayment if there has not in fact been an overpayment!

There are three main “defences” open to employees if their employer is claiming that there has been an overpayment of wages:

  1. A statutory defence under the Employment Rights Act 1996
  2. A common law defence under the law of restitution
  3. A defence based upon the Limitation Act 1980

About Chris Hadrill

Chris is a specialist employment lawyer at Redmans. He specialises in contentious and non-contentious employment matters, including breach of contract claims, compromise agreements and Employment Tribunal cases. He writes on employment law matters on a variety of websites, including Direct 2 Lawyers, Lawontheweb.co.uk, LegalVoice, the Justice Gap and his own blog. Contact Chris by emailing him at chadrill@redmans.co.uk

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Testimonials

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Anonymous

Both Rana and Chris were fantastic. From the first phone call I was confident my matter was in good hands. I was not disappointed. I would highly recommend Redmans. Thank you again for all of your support and advice.

Posted 3 days ago

Federico S

Great advices and communication. Through Redmana I obtained match more than what I thought. Highly recommended

Posted 5 days ago

Tom G

A good and efficient service with the required legal advice provided for a settlement agreement.

Posted 5 days ago

Francis T

The solicitor I used was Chris Hadrill, who I found extremely professional and I felt that he made me feel at ease, considering the subject matter he was assisting me with.

Posted 1 week ago

Anonymous

Chris provided excellent assistance with the negotiation of my settlement agreement. From start to finish, I was consitently updated and advised on the best course of action to take. I would highly recommend Chris and Redmans Solicitors.

Posted 1 week ago

Anonymous

They are busy people but manage well so generally I would recommend them.

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Anonymous

Very efficient and professional service from my first phone call making an enquiry. Timescales of the matter in hand were met and within the agreed budget. Would highly recommend Redmans

Posted 3 weeks ago

Lisa B

Really very good service, always available to answer questions, provide my with any information I needed to make informed decisions.

Posted 3 weeks ago

Anonymous

Offered good support and advice

Posted 3 weeks ago

Anonymous

Chris reviewed and managed my compromise agreement swiftly, accurately, helpfully, and on budget. His input on key non-compete clauses was valuable, his communications were clear and concise, and he was always swift in responding. Highly recommended.

Posted 3 weeks ago

Gurbir C

Excellent legal advice service.

Posted 3 weeks ago

Tim

I found Redmans to be very helpful and efficient in conducting my case which was concluded in a timely and diligent manner

Posted 3 weeks ago

Anonymous

I found Redman Solicitors to be very good and worked very well to an extremely tight timescale. I would happily recommend them again especially Rana.

Posted 3 weeks ago

Anonymous

I received excellent, knowledgeable and critically timely support from Chris regarding my settlement agreement, and would wholeheartedly recommend Chris in these matters.

Posted 3 weeks ago

Katelyn

The solicitor communicated well with me and made sure I understood everything. He did everything needed for my settlement agreement and tried to get the wording changed in my favour too.

Posted 4 weeks ago

Anonymous

Redmans provided excellent services

Posted 4 weeks ago

Sibel U

Excellent service

Posted 4 weeks ago

Peter S

I was very happy with the level of advise I received from Caroline Lewis, and a very professional service fron Chris, The advice given really helped me and I was comfortable to sign the settlement agreement following my redundancy. I would be more than happy to recommend your services to others.

Posted 4 weeks ago

Derek S

I very much appreciated the help provided by Redmans in the settlement agreement agreed with my former employer.

Posted 1 month ago

Waseem M

It was the first ime I used Redmans Solicitors and to be honest, thety were amazing. Rana Tandon and Chris Hadrill were out of this world. They made the process as simply and smooth as can be. Thank you so much for all your support over the last week.

Posted 1 month ago

Anonymous

Worked very quickly considering right deadlines - and gave great advice

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