We balance our bank accounts on a semi-weekly basis - we used to do it more often, but we don't spend as much money now with a baby at home (or rather - we don't spend money as frequently as we used to - the amounts have certainly gotten larger!).
At any rate, when I logged in the other day, I noticed a curious deposit - my paycheck. It's curious because I've been on unpaid leave for over a month, and I got a bad feeling. I looked back over the past few weeks and realized that despite HR telling me that I'd been placed on "inactive" status, the payroll department apparently never got the message - and they've paid me for two pay periods I haven't been working. I hadn't noticed because, hello, new baby at home, and a medically fragile one at that (so, basically, paying attention to our day to day finances has been at the very bottom of my priority list).
What would you do?
Well, obviously I emailed HR immediately and let them know. As nice as it would be to have a paid leave, that's not the deal I worked out with my boss and it would be asking for trouble. I have to pay back the overpayment they sent me and they will correct their reporting to the IRS so I don't have a tax liability for money I technically didn't earn.
One interesting thing that I noted was that the payroll woman asked me if I'd already spent the money. I said I didn't think so, but I didn't want them to debit my account and that I would prefer to write them a check. She explained that they wouldn't do that, but would be happy to work out a payment plan if I needed one. I found that very interesting - this was money I was not expecting to get, so it was just hanging out in our checking account and I was able to write her a check as soon as she was able to give me the instructions for repayment. But it sounds like usually when this happens, people just go ahead and spend the money that they weren't expecting to get, and then they can't pay it back all at once. It's really nice that they were so willing to work with me if I'd needed it, but I would much rather have that obligation over and done with.