What to do regarding an overpayment by my employer?

UPDATED: Aug 7, 2011

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What to do regarding an overpayment by my employer?

My employer accidentally duplicated my paycheck back 4 months ago. I have brought up the subject at least 4 times and have been told to just leave it and not to spend it, that they will draw it back. Is there a time limit for how long they can wait to do so? While I appreciate the interest I’ve made off of it but it keeps messing up my calculations and bookkeeping.

Asked on August 7, 2011 Nebraska


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

1) They do have an absolute right to get the money back, since it was an error; a mistake does not give someone a right to money in almost all cases. You are doing the right thing to seek to return it.

2) Technically, they could try to recover the money from you for up to 4 years, it would appear (treating the employer-employee relationship as one involving an unwritten contract or agreement).

3) You don't necessarily have to wait until they act, if you don't want to. You could give your employer a check or money order for the amount, and either give it in person and have them also sign a receipt or acknowledgment, or you could fed ex it or certify mail (return receipt requested) it, with a letter indicating that it's return of the overpayment.

4) Alternately, you could open a different account, deposit it there, and let it sit until they want the money back--that way, you'll segregate it for bookkeeping purposes (make sure you keep enough in the main acocunt to cover if they do draw the money back).

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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