Work Chasing Me for "Overpayment" after I Quit

I got forwarded this email to my former manager and myself today. I had 4 days of annual leave balance when I left, I did not consider chasing them up for it till now but now my old company is chasing me up for 'overpayment'. I thought it was up to the responsibility of the company to make sure I am being paid correctly. What responsibility if any do I have to pay this back and can they send debt collectors after me? Should I bring up my 4 days of Annual leave balance which equates to equates to a bit over $1000.

This is to keep you inform that your direct team member Levity was being overpaid in October 2021 salary payment.

There was being overpayment to Levity due to “Delay in termination update in workday after main cycle payroll cut-off”.

The net overpayment amount was a bit over $1,000.

Appreciate your further advise whether the repayment will be made by the employee.

If no payment is required for any reason, please provide the justification and the approval e-mail from the "long list of upper management".

If the repayment is required, please advise the employee to repay the above amount to XXXX Account as per below and confirm us the date of repayment:

Poll Options

  • 242
    You have to pay it back
  • 96
    You don't have to pay it back


  • Tell them to go and suck a fat one

  • +4

    How recent was this?

    I don't know why you didn't chase up 4 x AL days. That seems very odd to me.

    You will definitely need to pay back any money that you are genuinely owing. There is a 6 year limitation on debts in which a company has to have done their due diligence. After that the slate is wiped clean.

    Send them back a polite email asking for a full detailed statement of payment and hours for the past 24 months you were working at the previous company. If this was in the past 3 months - also bring up that you never received a final pay slip and had outstanding AL.

    • Agree, i would have been straight on to them

  • +1

    It's not your money. So you are contemplating ripping off your fmr employer! Not going to look good when they tell your next potential employer.

    These businesses are having it rough as it is, and you are seeking ways in which to scam them.

    Pay back the money immediately, or they WILL take further action. You are not a trustworthy guy, are you?

    • +4

      As far as I can tell from reading the above comments, both the business and the OP owe each other money.

    • We don't know all the facts, there are too many variables.

      From the comments so far, it seems the company is being dodgy

  • if poster is owed for leave, just ask them to itemise all pays and leave accrual over your entire term with them to confirm the debt …
    They'll probably put it in the 'too hard' basket and leave you to it …
    If they do go to that extent, do your own figures and work out what you believe the figure to be …

    If they ignore you and continue sending threatening emails, let them know that "this is now taking significant effort and time so I will assume that this matter will be reimbursed at my consulting rate of $500 per hour" (or whatever arbitrary fee you think is appropriate) … keep track of the hours, get an ABN, come up with a logo and start sending them invoices (1 hour increments for every call / email / text message) …

    side hustle achievement unlocked!

  • +2

    I'm going to play devil's advocate here and hopefully the facts are valid.

    OP put in their resignation of 5 weeks. The employer said to go before 5 weeks and they agreed to not payout their annual leave and no pay with holding I assume. So the OP is gone without pay withholding and annual leave.

    Is this in writing? Either way, they still need to pay your 4 days annual leave, it the… letting you leave early within your resignation period is the main concern.

    Assumption: if it's not in writing, then they need to pay you out the 4 days annual leave and they can ask for money back of the remaining days of your resignation not worked.

    For example

    Scenario 1: Nothing in writing you can leave before your 5 weeks resignation: You worked 4 weeks (20 days) out of your 5 weeks (25 days) resignation, they need to pay you 4 weeks and 4 days annual leave BUT they can ask for 1 day (assuming you have a full-time 5-day job) back. So you owe the company 1 day's pay.

    Scenario 2: In writing you can leave before your 5 weeks resignation without penalty (pay withholding): You worked 4 weeks (20 days) out of your 5 weeks (25 days) resignation, they need to pay you 4 weeks and 4 days annual leave and that's that. End of employment, no one owes anything to anyone.

    Personal experience 1: When I was working at Optus HQ, I put in 4 weeks resignation and the centre manager (my manager's manager) said I can go before the 4 weeks. I said "thank you, can I please get it in writing that I can leave at X date without penalty". She did it on the day and I left without any debt, she really wanted me gone lol.

    Personal experience 2: When I was a call centre manager, I had a team member that was so fed up with his job he wanted to quit on the spot. I said, "no, don't do it cause I don't have the power to let you go without pay withholding. If you quit now, you owe the company 4 weeks pay". I told him to think about it over the next few days and get back to me. I told him again I don't have the power to bypass any pay withholding, I spoke to my manager and she said no to letting him leave without penalty. I gave him options: I told him, put his 4 weeks resignation, I'll allow him to use up all his 8 sick days and it's paid and work the rest. He had no annual leave left. He came back to me 2 days later, he quit on the spot. Approx 1.5 months later, he got a bill stating he owes 4 weeks. He started having a tantrum at me…. I didn't care cause I told him so. That's on him.

    • +6

      You sounded like a great boss trying to do the right thing by the guy! What an idiot!

  • Call Fair Work Australia and speak to them about your options.

    We never see the full story when it comes to these things.

  • Why would you leave without getting your annual leave paid out? that makes no sense to me.

    Just say that you thought that money was your annual leave being paid out, 'but looks like I owe you a day back', sound good?

    The only way they can actually force you to pay anything back is via a court order btw, so if you want to be a dick about it you can, but why? Just be honest and pay back what you owe after accounting for the annual leave.

    • +1

      Yeah that doesn’t make sense to me at all. Haven’t bothered to read the rest of the responses since first checking a few days ago.

      Any leave owing I’d be chasing up, even one day. Money owed as an employee is money owed. Something doesn’t seem to add up here and think there’s much more to the story than OP is letting on.

  • Did you get forwarded the email and asked to pay, or you were just included in the email?

    It doesn't sound like you've been asked to repay the amount yet. They may sort it out on their end and not be planning to ask you to repay the amount (even if you were legitimately overpaid). It sounds like you're not 100% sure on your pay cycle, so it could be possible that they did pay your annual leave and there's still an overpayment.

    If they directly ask you to repay, that's when you request evidence of that overpayment, including a breakdown of your final payment from the company.

    Edit: Legally, if you have genuinely been overpaid you do need to pay the money back. If they haven't paid annual leave, they would need to include that in their calculations, so the amount should be reduced. They would be able to get a court order if necessary. Whether or not they would bother only they really know.

  • and the end of the day, its not your money!

    The right thing to do is give it back. imagine if you transferred 1300 bucks to someone that was wrong, you would hope they would give it back.

    Then of course go down the I want my annual leave paid out.

    • +2

      We really don't know if it's their money or not. We don't have the full story on what really went down with the resignation. The company could have said he can leave early but nothing in writing therefore they decided to do a dodgy and send him a bill or the OP genuinly does owe that money but the company needs to pay his AL out.

      The post is quite vague.

  • So when you say this "I thought it was up to the responsibility of the company to make sure I am being paid correctly.", it's true but this is a unique case.

    If they had overpaid you slightly, over a long period of time, I would say that's on them to check their accounting and they failed, their fault.

    Since it has happened very very recently, then yes, you should pay it.

    You should have a conversation with them and say 'Hi, you underpaid my annual leave entitlements when I left, I thought the amount additional was 'close enough' to what was owed, can you confirm the records you have about my annual leave entitlements, what I was paid there and I'd be happy to meet with you.'

  • +3

    Wife is in HR, and deals with a few of these a month (their systems were pretty cruddy).

    In all circumstances, the employee must pay it back. In the cases where the employee refuses, their legal counsel chases the employee, and then they pay it back.

    I don't know what the legal requirements are (if any), but yeah, any payment to you made in error does not automatically make it yours.

    Check your payslip, see what the payment period is for, less the days that you actually worked, that will be the proof you owe them some money.

  • Third option: bring up the Annual Leave and ask for the difference to be deposited to you.

    It is also possible they have already taken the 4 days leave into consideration.

  • +2

    Are you 100% sure the email is from the company? The grammar is worse than most spam scams. I'd be suspicious.

  • I'll assume you didn't raise your leave because you knew you got overpaid.

    They should equal out but you want that formalised.

    Those above saying it will cost the company more in costs - well no, because if they can prove they overpaid they will win and be awarded costs, so your $1200 now becomes 1200 plus costs.

  • If I were you I will tell them there is 4 days unpaid amount. And work with them to see if there is amount you need to pay or they pay.

  • How do you know you had 4 days of leave if you don't even realise they overpaid you?

    Up to them to prove to you they did and how though.

  • +1
    1. Yes you have to pay it back
    2. Yes they must pay you that unpaid leave, and
      2a. Yes you should ask them for it.

    Points 1 and 2 are completely unrelated from your/accounting's perspective. However there's no reason a single payment of the difference can't just be made to you, to even everything out.

  • +1

    I had a similar experience 22 years ago but for a lot more money. I simply ignored them having also moved away from my home at the time. They decided I had been a very good employee and eventually accepted the status quo. They were a large company (top 50). As someone who moved on to run their own business I would just wear it on the chin. After all it's tax deductible and the goodwill is worth it. To seek recovery would hardly be worth it. I certainly wouldn't rush to repay and if it's inevitable come up with a modest repayment plan.

    • So you felt no moral obligation?

  • I'd suggest you repay it in instalments, spread over a period that is reasonable, and which you are comfortable with.

  • +1

    If you are in the wrong and need to pay it back, do yourself a favour and actually get them on the phone. Email addresses can be faked. make sure it's legitimately from them, before you go making any payments.

  • I think there is 2 questions here.
    1. Do you own the money to the employer?
    I would say yes. There would be evidence of the amounts that should have been paid and the amount that was actually were paid.
    2. Do you need to pay back the money?
    I would say that depends on if you want to. I think the employer has limited options to recoup the debt if you do not agreed to pay it back. I could not see how it would be viable for them to attempt legal channels.

    • There is no "if you want to", you are legally required to return the money, keeping it is fraud. Yes it may be difficult and not worth the effort for them but it is a gamble that could end up costing a lot more than just having to repay the money.

  • Pay them back 1264.43 and then demand they pay you back the overpayment just to show them how annoying it is to be constantly fixing other people's mistakes up all the time.

    • And watch the company drag their feet.

  • can they send debt collectors after me?

    I don't think so. The employer can decide to take you to court. but this does not happen usually.

  • +2

    4 days of Annual leave balance which equates to equates to $1,288.46

    rich ass

  • Hi Levity,

    Sounds like quite the rough experience with your ex-employer.

    Best way to sort this out would be either contact their HR department or Payroll department and ask them for a final pay calculation, this should show you the annual leave pay out and also any deductions due to days paid but not worked.

    Assuming you have worked through your notice period,the 4 days of annual leave balance ($1288.46) that you have left would be taxed at at marginal rate roughly $845 net.

    My guess would be you would owe them roughly $420 net pay.

  • ask them for written explanation of the overpayment, and tell them you believe your leave entitlements have not been paid. Ask for a new overpayment figure taking into account the leave entitlements. Then negotiate a repayment schedule for the remainder.

    To be honest, if they overpaid you shouldn't even be thinking about it - you should just be repaying what you owe.

  • Yes you have to pay it back. You can also bring up
    conversation about unpaid annual leave. In my job we are paid on mid month for entire month. So if for whatever reason you quit attending after mid month you will have to pay back overpay amount - any remaining paid leaves

  • I dealt with overpayment multiple times for much higher amount. ( The highest amount was more than $25k). I can tell you I waived all overpayments.

    Legally if employer have sufficient evidence of overpayment, you need to pay it back. However, enforceability is another topic.

    You need to ask your employer for detailed leave application details how the mistakes happened. Only pay back if you have money. In general we waive $5k without wasting of time.

  • “I thought it was up to the responsibility of the company to make sure I am being paid correctly.”
    This is exactly why they are doing by asking you to repay overpaid amounts! Seems you are trying to imply that any amounts paid are final and there are is no recourse to errors made, or look for legal loopholes.

    Of course you should bring up any other potential errors made such as annual leave calculations.

    What you should also consider is the reputation damage that may occur if it gets out that you deliberately tried to take advantage of the situation.

    Also good luck trying to get a job back at the same company in the future should you value your career.

  • +1

    Ignore the emails. This happened to me twice in my current employment (large recruitment company). They overpaid me $450 one week and $250 another (approx). I ignored both for a few weeks and then when they really chased I just said that the money had already been spent and I couldn't justify money coming out of future pay cheques for errors on their behalf. Both times they let me keep it. The reality of it is, that they cant take the money from your account and will likely need some form of legal advice/action to take it further, this will cost more than the outstanding debt so it's unlikely they will pursue. Keep the 4 days leave argument up your sleeve if you really need it. But to be honest OP you should have said that at the time as without written evidence it will be hard to prove.

    • Quite small amounts from their perspective. Depends on the situation though, if this was simple oversight from them and put you in a position where you could reasonably argue you didn’t realise then like you said, a lot of effort and cost to prove it.

      In my personal experience, I had my HR’s payroll/leave system mess up on a sick leave application. I was away with a stuffed shoulder and surgery to fix it. It was pretty much a whole pay cycle I was away for, and I submitted the sick leave request on the first day of the new pay cycle (fortnight). Come pay time the next fortnight something went seriously wrong and they paid me extra for the sick leave (I already got paid the last pay). So when my new pay came through it was almost double what I would normally get paid.

      There’s no reasonable way for it to not be noticeable to me at that point. If I’d dragged it out it wouldn’t have looked good for me at the company either.

  • Ask them to provide a copy of the email in English. I am not sure what that is meant to be but for an email requesting you repay an overpayment that email is disgraceful.

    I am also sus on this whole post, why would a salary overpayment email go to your former manager asking them if you will be repaying the money. It is a payroll issue, something fishy there.

  • -1

    Looking forward to OPs angry update when he finds out the overpayment is AFTER his missing annual leave got taken out.

    This is 100% being sent to a debt collector.

  • +1

    Ignore it. Don't even respond. The amount is not big enough for the employer to go after too seriously.

    As a manager in the past I had this situation happen a few times and sent a similar letter asking for the money to be repaid. In all cases I was ignored. One of them for around $3k but in discussions with HR it was deemed a more expensive and fruitless effort to try and go after the money any further.

    The only caution I would make is that you can ignore it as long as you never want to work with that company and manager again. If you want to work again for that organisation in a different department then paying it back may be worthwhile but only in that circumstance IMO.

  • I was once overpaid $12k after leaving a job and continuing to receive wages. I had to call them twice to request they stop payment. I ignored the letter and kept the money. They didn't pursue.

  • Your response should depend on how they respond to your request to payout the annual leave. The paid money is in your control now and the ball is in their court. Either way it will not be worth wasting time on no matter how much they 'chase' you.

  • There is a bad debt threshold that you can use. Anything below a certain amount is usually written off by medium to large businesses so up to you really. I know there are quite sizeable thresholds for financial institutions and even brokerages (if you loose on margin) where they automatically write off your losses/theft lol without getting someone on ur case.

  • Not a lawyer so definitely seek some legal advice of your own but I wouldn't think you can be hit with a criminal charge. They could elect to make a claim in the civil jurisdiction of your local Magistrates Court.

    In my state anything under $12K is a minor claim and lawyers aren't allowed to represent parties (in most cases) which means someone authorised from the company would need to attend. I can't see them bothering over $1200.

    If it was me I'd ignore the email and call their bluff, see if they're willing to take it further but as I said I'm not a lawyer so best to get your own advice.

  • So you were on around $45/hr?
    I'd definitely begin the proccess of claiming the leave payout asap and reference it in every communication with them as you 'organise' your repayment of the overpay

    • Not that much was mid 30's.

      • That’s a long time ago.

        Forget it.

  • It's not worth their costs for chasing you.

    Debt collectors will settle for cents in the dollar. Let it ride for 12 months and block their calls.

    It's not worth their time proceeding with it in small claims

    Just don't expect a professional reference. And move on. Sound like a terrible operation and congrats on leaving.

  • +3

    An update: Looks like Payroll jumped the gun, old Manager has been silent and has not asked me to repay nor texted me. Just said good luck at your new job.

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