Need Advice Regarding Pay Miscalculation


Apologies for a long post.
I am working for a reputed company in healthcare. I can do salary sacrificing as it's a not for profit organization.

I am supposed to be paid hourly rates as per the business agreement but I got paid wrongly for 4 fortnights. I put in pay query forms and it took them 2 months to respond back after repeated follow up.

As the pay rate is wrong the company i supposed to recalculate the super, casual loading penalties and other penalties that I get paid for work. Also, I salary sacrificed 100% of my pay and that needs to recalculated as well.

In one of the pay cycles, $1600 were "adjusted" as per the email I received from the payroll office explaining that the adjustment has been done due to the meal and entertainment benefits that I am claiming. So, I worked kind of free for that fortnight. My payslip doesn't show the adjustment.

As I requested for the payback for getting paid on the wrong hourly rates (which is nearly $550), I was informed that there are other discrepancies in my payslips.

I am being told that I have been overpaid in the three pay cycles in July and August. I don't think that it's the case.

I just want to know what can I do about the employer adjusting $1600 in my salary. Can an employer do this?

Also, how do I know they overpaid me? I can check my roster at the workplace but it's there mistake that they did that even if it occurred.

Where can I get a professional advice for this issue?

Please help.


  • +3 votes

    Fairly certain it's illegal to deduct anything without your agreement. Also fairly certain a company just got fined 100ks for trying this on someone for 20k.

    Fair work is a good call, you can remain anonymous but have your award or contract handy for them to be more acurate

  • Where can I get a professional advice for this issue?

  • What's the meal and entertainment benefits you're claiming? That portion is confusing.

    To calculate under or over payments you'll just compare your roster to hours worked. May be a few different pay rates but shouldn't be too difficult.

    While if there is overpayments, yes it's their mistake but if it's a genuine mistake you will have to repay:

  • It may seem unfair but the onus is on you to check you are being paid correctly, however your employer doesnt get to do whatever they want to fix it.

    Im thinking you must be under an award and work in a private hospital or nursing home, giving more information would be helpful.

    The best professional help with any future problems is probably to join a union, they will help members fix these issues. They wont help you now if you are not already a member.

    This is how you know if you have been overpaid…

    Your award will clearly state your hourly rate so thats very easy to confirm.

    If Ive got that wrong and you are not under an award, then look at your employment contract, the hourly rate will be stated there.

    When you know what your hourly rate is then it should be very easy to check that against all of your payslips.

    Your payslip will state the hourly rate, casual loading and any penalties with the hours worked, there will be a total gross amount, then the salary packaging amounts will be deducted. Tax will be calculated after that and your amount paid excluding the salary packaging will be stated.

    You need to go through all of your pay slips and check your hourly rate and your hours worked and do that from now on, every pay day.

    It should be easy to see when they have overpaid or underpaid you.
    Then it is a straightforward discussion i.e. my hourly pay rate is $X.xx but you have only paid me $Y.yy.

    It sounds like you might be having problems interpreting the information on your payslip to check its correct. If thats the case ask someone who you think is clever to look at it and tell them what your hourly rate is, ideally a colleague who also salary packages and is familiar with the layout of the payslip.

    The trick to dealing with situations where your employer wants to deduct a large amount is to immediately put in writing that the deduction is not acceptable and will cause you "severe financial hardship" use those words.

    It sounds like it might be too late to do that now for the $1600 but if they intend to deduct more money for the possible overpayment in July & August, tell them deducting the payment in a lump sum will cause you severe financial hardship and that you can only afford to pay it back at $25/ a pay period. Thats usually the minimum they will accept (I know this cos I did it when my casual employer, over a period, overpaid me $4000 and wanted it back)
    They will make you sign an agreement that will include repaying the balance in full if you leave the employment.

    You just need to tell whoever you are dealing with that it is a legal requirement that you are provided with a payslip that reflects all the payments and deductions and you want the payslip that shows the deduction of $1600.
    They have to give you that, its non negotiable and they know it.

    Sometimes small organisations outsource their payroll processing and not always to a payroll service, sometimes its to an accountant who is not using any payroll software at all only excel which just cant deal with the complexities of the pay system. In this situation its difficult because usually the mess cant be fixed easily.

    I think yours will be a mess because of the salary packaging and tax deductions when they have paid you incorrectly. That might be complicated for them to fix, it shouldnt be but they sound incompetent so it will be.

    Find out your correct hourly rate.
    Check all of your payslips.
    Calculate yourself if the cumulative amount is an overpayment or underpayment.
    Tell payroll of your calculation with details.
    If the result is an overpayemnt, tell them in an email you can not afford that in one single payment, it will cause you severe financial hardship but you can afford $25/fortnight to be deducted.
    If it is an underpayment tell them you want it rectified in the next pay.
    Join a union.

  • If you are a member of a union, then you should contact your union for help.

  • Listening to randoms on an Internet forum. This bodes well.

  • I'm going through this with the union at my work at the moment. Even if you're under some kind of union agreement, the fair work act overrides it where applicable. So, it is always illegal to deduct pay without the worker's consent. Additionally, all deductions must be shown on your payslip as such.
    If the company thinks you were "overpaid" they need to provide evidence for why. I'm also not sure if they'd even be allowed to take back the money if they had "overpaid" you. It's definitely not on to arbitrarily deduct from a future payslip to make up for overpaying you in a past payslip.
    Just remember, the onus is always on the employer to provide evidence for deductions. Just the mere mention of a fair work ombudsman might get you your money very quickly.