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Overpayment of Salary

Discussion in 'Pay and conditions' started by T BOSS, Jun 29, 2011.

  1. Hi,
    I'll keep this as brief as possible. Essentially I'm looking for advice, experience of this problem or pointers on when I can get some free legal advice.
    I left my teaching job last summer. I resigned in April 2010 and emigrated to Canada in August 2010. My school paid me in September and October 2010 when they shouldn't have. Prior to leaving the school I was advised by more than one member of senior management that I would be paid a months in arrears because I started a full time contract in the middle of a pay period coming off supply. Therefore I thought nothing of the September pay, but when receiving the October pay I contacted the LEA payroll and infromed them on 1st Nov 2010. They told me they would look into it and get back to me to let me know if how much I'd been overpaid was correct and how it could be paid back. I give them my full contact details in Canada (phone, address, cell phone, email).
    Two weeks pass. Nothing. I contact them again and they apologise for not getting back to me and for bringing it to their attention. They said they would deal with it and come back to me.
    January 26th comes around and they send me an invoice REMINDER for the full amount and an offer to pay them back via a payment plan. I pick this up from my old address as I'd moved 1st January (still in Canada). I call them and tell them I'd heard nothing from them for almost three months and then an invoice reminder. No 1st invoice, no answer with regard to why I owed them two months pay and not one. They apologise, tell me they will put the invoice on stop and look into it. I give them my new full contact details (new address, new phone number, email and fax).
    Feb 1st I get an email from HR telling me I do in fact owe two months salary, despite being informed by the school I would be paid a month in arrears. I also get another apology for not keeping me in touch or getting back to me far sooner.
    Feb 7th I email them back (HR and Accounts) on the email addresses the provided me to tell them I cannot pay the full amount, but will happily set up a payment plan of a minimal amount and could they contact me with their bank details and discuss if my offer was agreeable. I hear nothing.
    May 3rd they send a letter from their solicitor to my PREVIOUS address demanding I pay the full amount by May 10th or I will incurr legal processings, costs and interest. I receive this letter on June 25th due to it being sent to my previous address and postal strikes here in Canada.
    I know I owe them money, that I am not disputing. I am disputing their methods and incompetance in dealing with this. Can anybody help answer the following:
    Where do I stand legally?
    Where can I receive legal advice free of charge?
    Does anybody have experience of this situation?
    What steps should I take next? (I have drafted a long letter to their solicitor reiterating my offer and highlight the exact chain of events in detail and disputing their methods and incompetenence).
    I would add I am no longer a member of a union and I don't teach here in Canada. I now work in the private sector.
    Finally, although I disagree with the coailition government cuts in public service, I can see from this experience why there is so much waste!
    Thanks in advance!

     
  2. coppull

    coppull New commenter

    We assume from your letter ,that last year ,you were a fully paid up member of one the three main teaching unions. If this is correct, then the Union you were in ,should be able to help you out over the issue,since the incident happened ,when you were paying subs. Check out the head office of your former union and be ready to provide evidence that you were a member by giving your ,old address,school worked at,bank details from which account you paid your subs. or even your membership number.
     
  3. Thank you for your reply.
    I actually contacted the NASUWT this morning and they did indeed confirm I was entitled to their help for the reasons you highlighted.
    I have emailed the local secretary with my case and am awaiting a reply.
    Any further advice from anyone who has experience of knowledge of this situation would be gratefully received.


     
  4. Had a little experience of this. It sounds like your were given the wrong advice from your senior management (they don't always understand payroll as well as you might think as most SMT are not personnel expertse or accountants). In most authorities, if payment is at the end of the month that is for the month just gone. Staff finishing in August usually get paid in August and nothing more so it is probably right that you owe two months salary. The only adjustments that should be processed in September are any sick payments, overtime payments, unpaid leave or other adjustments that were not reported to payroll in time for the August payroll run. If everything was normal then this should not be necessary.
    It sounds as if your school did not inform payroll that you had finished or that payroll did not process it in time. Unfortunately, although you are not to blame you still have to pay the money back.
    However, the way in which this has been handled is poor. There has clearly been some confusion because of your postal addresses, etc but still the payroll department should now be accepting that you will pay back the salary over the period of time agreed.
    You have done exactly the right thing by writing back to the solicitors with an offer of payment and a full explanation and history of the situation.
     
  5. Piranha

    Piranha Lead commenter

    I am not an expert on this, but I think you may be entitled to keep one of the two months if you have spent it. The principle here is that if the overpayment is the employers fault, the employee has good reason for believing they are entitled to the money and have spent it then the money need not be returned. See http://www.pcs.org.uk/en/resources/legal_toolkit/legal_advice_from_thompsons_solicitors/pay/salary_overpayments.cfm
    As SMT told you that you were entitled to the first extra month, it would be reasonable for you to assume you were entitled to it. However, you knew the second payment was an error so you will be expected to pay it back.
     
  6. Thank you for the advice!
    Much appreciated.
     
  7. Thank you, I appreciate your advice.


     

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