Want to talk to an expert employment law solicitor?

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

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

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 first name (required)

    Your last name (required)

    Your email (required)

    Your telephone number (required)

    Brief details of your enquiry

    Testimonials

    4.80 Average

    320 Reviews

    Anonymous

    Efficient and quick service!

    Posted 18 hours ago

    Karen B

    Quick response very helpful Issue raised dealt with very quickly

    Posted 3 days ago

    Carmen T

    Redmans give Great service and advice on reading contracts. They can explain all the solicitors jargon into words that you can understand. I received excellent service an I will use them again and again.

    Posted 5 days ago

    Anonymous

    Very grateful for Mel’s efforts in handling my case from start to finish which I would have found very stressful without it. She was very professional, friendly and we had a positive outcome. Highly recommend.

    Posted 4 weeks ago

    Nalin W

    Mel Chin was my Legal Executive when I engaged the services of Redmans Solicitors to help with a redundancy matter. She was incredibly approachable and professional from start to finish. Specially I have to mention regarding prompt reply to all my email queries, It was super quick. I would thoroughly recommend Mel Chin. Many Thanks

    Posted 1 month ago

    Anonymous

    I'd highly recommend Redmans Solicitors. Mel was very helpful and assisted me throughout my case.

    Posted 1 month ago

    Anonymous

    Sacha was very thorough and very helpful, with great advice on when to act and when to wait on my case.

    Posted 1 month ago

    Anonymous

    I have been very pleased with the support I got from Redmans Solicitors on my case with my employer. Caroline has always helped me to put things in perspective and showed me different scenarios ultimately to help me taking the right decision. She was very professional and always available when I needed, and at the same time also emphatic which I found also really important to establish a strong relationship. Will definitely recommend!

    Posted 1 month ago

    Anonymous

    Prompt and efficient response to my enquiries. Excellent negotiating skills with my employer which considerably improved the terms of my settlement agreement.

    Posted 1 month ago

    Anonymous

    Very quick and professional service , Rana was very helpful

    Posted 1 month ago

    James G

    Very professional, knowledgeable and kept me informed at every stage of my case. I would highly recommend Redmans.

    Posted 1 month ago

    Pravina P

    Chris was really good and help solve my issues with current company. I would recommend him to anyone.

    Posted 2 months ago

    Paul L

    Sacha was extremely helpful in my matter. I would not hesitate you use Sacha or Redmonds again. Everyone was very helpful.

    Posted 2 months ago

    Monique N

    I had Mel Chin helping me with a settlement and she was very professional and reliable throughout my case. Mel provided me with a good understanding of what was happening and gave suggestions on routes I could take. My case was resolved and closed promptly although the opposing side were very difficult to deal with. A very big thank you to Mel and Chris.

    Posted 2 months ago

    Jackie C

    My first ever experience needing the services of a solicitor; cannot speak highly enough of Mel and Chris’s personable, reassuring and straight to the point advice in dealing with my settlement agreement. They put me at ease during an extremely stressful time. I am equally as happy with the outcome, as l am their professional services.

    Posted 2 months ago

    ""

    Really happy with the service. All very efficient. Mel rattled through things very fast, however was great whenever I needed to stop and ask a question! Would definitely return to Redmans if I ever needed Legal advice.

    Posted 2 months ago

    Peter F

    Very helpful and clear advice, would highly recommend.

    Posted 2 months ago

    William A

    Second time I have had to use Redmans. They did not disappoint. They are fast , efficient and friendly. I have already recommended them to friends and colleagues. I hope I dont have to use them again but if I have to , they are the solicitors for me.

    Posted 2 months ago

    Fleeta C

    Great service with tantastic communications. The solicitor responsible is extremely knowledgeable and was responsible for bringing a timely and desired solution.

    Posted 2 months ago

    Veronica M

    Extremely helpful, starting from a request for advice at very short notice, to dedicating time for me to understand and review all documents thoroughly.

    Posted 2 months ago

    Sophie R

    Very efficient and professional service. Chris was very empathetic, knowledgeable and personable. Highly recommended.

    Posted 2 months ago