How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site. Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask Ben Jones Your Own Question
Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 48497
Experience:  Qualified Employment Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
29905560
Type Your Employment Law Question Here...
Ben Jones is online now

Every week i submit a timesheet that has been reverifed by

Resolved Question:

Every week i submit a timesheet that has been reverifed by the client - signed
Every fifth week for the last 4 years my employer has (in error) been paying me an extra days wages. They have phoned me today & say that I must return the sum of almost £9000.
How should I respond.
Submitted: 3 months ago.
Category: Employment Law
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 3 months ago.

Hello, my name is***** am a qualified lawyer and I will be assisting you with your question today.

Expert:  Ben Jones replied 3 months ago.

Were you aware that you were being overpaid during the course of your employment?

Customer: replied 3 months ago.
Hello, I need to know if I am liable for this mistake. It appears that the company view is that I am responcible for their mistake.
Customer: replied 3 months ago.
I am presently in the middle of the North sea on an oil platform. I should be home in a couple of days & I can call you then.
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 3 months ago.

OK no problem at all. Please do get back to me when it is more convenient so that I can look into this for you. Thank you

Expert:  Ben Jones replied 3 months ago.

Many thanks for your patience. If someone has genuinely been overpaid at work, the employer may rely on the common law remedy of restitution based on a mistake of law or fact to recover the overpayment in the civil courts. Restitution attempts to prevent the unjust enrichment of the worker at the expense of the employer.

If a claim for recovery is made by the employer, the employee may be able to use the legal defence of ‘estoppel’ to resist it. The case of County Council of Avon v Howlett dealt with this issue and identified three conditions that must be met for estoppel to succeed:

· The overpayments were made due to an error by the employer

· The employee genuinely believed they were entitled to the money, or did not even realise that they were being overpaid. It would not include turning a blind eye when they knew they were being overpaid

· The employee has since 'changed their position', meaning they have spent the money in question. However, this does not mean just spending it on usual items of expenditure, such as rent, mortgage, bills, everyday spending, etc – there must have been a significant, precise or substantial change of position.

So whilst there is nothing stopping an employer from pursuing a claim to recover an overpayment, if the above conditions are satisfied then an employee could raise the defence of 'estoppel' in court and potentially resist the employer’s claim.

I trust this has answered your query. Please take a second to leave a positive rating by selecting 3, 4 or 5 stars above - this is an important part of our process and recognises the time I have spent assisting you. If you still need me to clarify anything else, please reply on here and I will assist as best as I can. Thank you

Ben Jones and other Employment Law Specialists are ready to help you