Worker paid 100 times their salary due to HR slip-up

Worker paid 100 times their salary due to HR slip-up

A worker was accidentally paid one hundred times their salary due to a HR mistake, the BBC reports.

The Australian employee was meant to receive A$4,921.76 (£2803.79), but instead found A$492,176 (£280,250) in their bank account.

However, the honest worker who was employed by the Government and was based in a remote area of the Northern Territory, returned the money four weeks later – and would have done it sooner if they did not have to travel to reach a bank.

A report into the incident blamed two human errors - the incorrect data entry in the first place and then the failure to deal with a system-generated alert which would have highlighted the error.

Have you overpaid an employee?

No matter how careful you are, accidents sometimes happen. If you realise you’ve made a mistake when paying someone, it’s not too late to fix it. ACAS advises that you are entitled to reclaim the overpayment but suggests that you don’t simply start deducting money from their salary to compensate.

Instead, you should speak to the employee to work out how to move forward together. You should explain how the mistake happened and clearly show how much was overpaid and agree on a repayment schedule. If you catch it soon enough, the employee may be able to pay you back quickly – but if it was longer, then you may need to give your employee time to return the money.

What if the employee has left the company?

If the person who has received the overpayment has left your company, it becomes much trickier to reclaim the money you overpaid, as there is no way for you to take a little back from their wages.

From our content partner

Millie Johnson, the Legal Editor at Rocket Lawyer, writes that if the final payment has been made, an informal request seeking repayment can be made to the former employee. “If they refuse, court action can be considered - but success will depend on the financial circumstances of the former employee, and legal fees may cost more than the sum in question,” she explained.

So, you may need to take the former employee to court to cover your losses – or just write it off as a learning experience and come up with a plan to ensure it doesn’t happen again.

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