Guidance on salary overpayments

This guidance outlines the way in which overpayments of salaries will be recovered. 

A salary overpayment can occur in two different ways:

  • Where you have been paid more than you should have received under your contract of employment with us;
  • Where you have underpaid pension contributions, income tax, national insurance or other statutory or voluntary deduction.

It is standard practice that we will look to recover all overpayments regardless of their value and how they may have occurred.

The law permits employers to deduct an overpayment directly from your wage without your consent where the purpose is the recovery of a salary overpayment. However, we will always endeavour to act as fairly and reasonably as possible when following this legislation.

Your responsibilities

While every effort is made to ensure that all payments are accurate there may be occasions when errors are made.  

You should always check that your salary payments are correct and if you think there has been an error (either under or overpayment) you should contact your faculty/service Human Resources team immediately.

If you are a budget holder/finance manager please ensure any unusual variances are also raised with your faculty/service HR team immediately.

Recovery of overpayments from current staff

In the majority of cases we will automatically adjust and recover any overpayment in the following month. However, if the overpayment is significant or has occurred over several months, Human Resources will contact you to discuss and agree repayment arrangements. 

Your options in these circumstances include:

  • One lump sum repayment;
  • A monthly repayment plan where an overpayment has occurred over several months. Any plan agreed will not normally exceed 12 months.

If a repayment plan has been agreed, Human Resources will write to you confirming the agreed repayment terms. We do however reserve the right to review any agreed repayment terms should circumstances change although any proposed changes to the terms will be discussed with you. 

Should any overpayment still be outstanding when your employment ends, it will be automatically deducted from any monies owed to you at that time.

Recovery of overpayments from former staff

Where an overpayment comes to light after your employment has ended, Human Resources will write to you requesting that the sum be repaid in a single payment, normally within one month of receipt of the letter.

If repayment is not made within this timeframe, the issue will be referred to Central Financial Services where our policy and procedures on debt recovery will then apply. This normally involves us raising a formal invoice which gives you 30 days to settle the overpayment before debt recovery proceedings are initiated. This will include taking whatever legal steps are necessary to recover the debt.