Sunday, February 24, 2013


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.


  1. Many years back, I got let go from a company and they kept depositing my paychecks. I didn't spend a penny and I kept notifying my HR contact. It took about three cycles before they finally got everything straight. When they asked for the money back, I noted that this had been an inconvenience to me and I pointed out how I had actively notified them every time, and used this to request that I get to keep a portion of the money. They made me give all the deposits back, but they agreed to let me keep the 401(k) deposits that had also gone through.

  2. The company I work for has had problems with this in the past. What has happened numerous times is that a salary employee is fired, but they work out some kind of package so the person is paid for another month or however long. If HR forgets to term the employee, which is sometimes easy to do because you get it in your head that they quit working last month, they'll automatically receive a direct deposit on pay day. Unfortunately, we can only get the money back if the ex-employee is willing to let us reverse the direct deposit. We've actually had numerous former employees who just wouldn't return the company's calls or emails requesting the funds, and the company was just out the money.

    If it was me, I'd alert them of the error because I know from conversations with our accounting department that these mistakes are caught eventually. I'd rather be known as the honest employee than the one who just let it go until she was forced to give it back.


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