Overpaid Wages! What Should You Do?

Have you had your payslip, and discovered that the boss transferred an unusual amount of money, that one time?

Or maybe you realized you reduced your working hours, yet received your usual salary that month?

You’re probably wondering if it’s possible for the employer to demand those overpaid wages back?

To answer that, let’s take a look at this trial time for a civil servant teacher in North Rhine-Westphalia.

For six years, she was paid the same amount she had been paid as a part-time instructor in her previous full-time job.

That summed up to an additional 237,000 euros tranferred into her account.

The woman claims she didn’t know she had an overdraft on her account.

It’s not like she controls the household finances; her teacher husband does.

Contrarily, the public prosecutor takes a different view and files a fraud complaint. As a government employee, she should have raised the issue of her employer’s lapses.

Because the error was not the teacher’s fault, the district court in charge is unconcerned about the fraud claim.

It seems clear that the lady must reimburse the money even though no judgment has been given. It’s time to assess if she can afford an 800 euro monthly payment. On the other hand, she is unconcerned about her status as a government employee and her pension.

Must the overpaid wage be returned?

Employees seldom make mistakes of this magnitude in their financial dealings.

Even yet, an employee’s civil servant status is unaffected if they get a few hundred dollars in their bank account.

However, if a judge orders, the additional funds must be returned. At least when it was clear that the windfall resulted from a blunder in accounting.

To avoid getting fired, an employee should not just keep the extra cash but give the money back to the company.

Consideration must be given to large quantities since they cannot be recovered in full and must be deducted from future income payments.

There must be strict adherence to the current garnishment allowances here.

The three-year statute of limitations for the employer’s claim of overpayment or egregious negligence has expired.

On the other hand, if the employee had recently negotiated a salary increase with the employer, he or she may now assume that the higher number implies that the request had been granted after the relocation.

In terms of employment law, there is a lack of trust in this situation. As a bonus or Christmas bonus, the employee is also entitled to the multiple.

Open lines of communication, accepting mistakes and being honest with one another, and avoiding legal or other forms of conflict are always suggested for employers and employees. Ultimately, both sides are at a disadvantage.

It might be the job itself, the employee, or any other positive aspects of the situation.

Anyone who notices excessive salary should report it and pay it back.

Mistakes may be made by anybody, including bosses.

It is not just terrible for the employer, but Section 812 of the German Civil Code provides for a claim for compensation if an employee obtains more money than he or she is entitled to under the employment contract (BGB).

Because of this, the employee is obligated to pay back any excess remuneration.

Especially if the employee notices something wrong with his pay stub.

The employee may not have seen the difference in compensation had it not been so large.

If he does not report the inaccuracies, he is breaking his duty of loyalty to his employer.

Legal repercussions include, but are not limited to, instant dismissal in the worst-case situation. Employers can take legal action to reclaim overpaid pay, as well.

Are employers allowed to just withhold money from a future paycheck?

The amount of the overpayment is what determines the outcome. With a one-time blunder, you can simply agree with your employer that your salary would be reduced accordingly when it comes time for your next pay period.

On the other hand, your employer isn’t allowed to reduce your salary to the point that you can no longer make a living from it.

Nothing was found, and the money had already been spent, so what are the options now?

Even if an employee does not find an error and has already spent the money on something with a comparable value that is no longer in his assets, he or she does not have to compensate their employer under 818 paragraph 3 BGB.

The word “enrichment” is used in the German legal lexicon to describe this process.

Here’s an illustration: Unintentionally, your employer transfers you 100 euros more than you requested. You didn’t give it a second thought; you congratulated yourself for having a significant cushion at the end of the month.

Depending on what you bought, you now have a choice:

A concert ticket or a restaurant meal is hardly a long-term investment; thus, you have “drained” yourself of your funds.

But if you spend the money on a new watch or make further loan payments, the legal equivalent of the 100 euros is still in your assets. In this case, the employer might seek compensation or, if necessary, forfeiture of the employee.

There is the risk of a legal battle with the employer over a refund if the overpayment is so significant that you should have noticed it.

Is there anything wrong with your pay stub?

Employees are not compelled to check their pay stubs for possible mistakes every month. For example, lower Saxony’s state labor court decision on this issue (AZ 9 Sa 1560/06) in 2007.

Nevertheless, it is recommended that you check your account statement regularly since you may have received an incorrect amount of money.

A considerable amount of money might build over time if the corporation pays you excessively, which can complicate the process of restitution. Additional information on the protections provided under labor legislation

How long do I have to file a salary claim before running out of time?

So-called “cut-off dates” in the employment contract or an existing collective bargaining agreement take precedence over the statutory rule regarding wage claims. In this case, you have three months to file any claims based on your employment.

Accordingly, the three-year statute of limitations for claims against an employer under 199 BGB applies if an employee files a claim during that period.

Under 814 BGB, if the employer understood the overpayment amount at the time of payment, he is not entitled to recoup the overpayment (“knowledge of non-guilt”).

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