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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 50161
Experience:  Qualified Solicitor
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Dear Sir/Madam. I worked for Morrisons supermarket and had

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Dear Sir/Madam. I worked for Morrisons supermarket and had to rollover to DHL. After 3
months Morrisons kept paying me. I paid over £2000 back being honest. Working Full Time for DHL I dropped on Nov 10th 2013 to a 3 day week. Now for months Nov 13 to Feb 14 I have been paid well over my past full time hours. I contacted my Line Manager requesting
a pay check and answer. I was told my pay was correct and I was the first person in 30 years to moan about getting so much! Yesterday I was called in to the managers office and told that I have been over paid by a sum of over £3000 to date.
(Q 1) I brought this to light. Do I have to pay it all back in one go.
(Q 2) Do I have to tell HMRC ie Tax.
(Q 3) Can I pay back a % only.
(Q 4) Is this classed as my fault.
(Q 5) I retire Feb 2015 will I have to use my state pension to meet any outstanding debt.
(A 6) I have money saved for retirement do I use that to pay out once and forget.

Thank-you for your time.

Barry Jackson .
[email protected]

Ben Jones :

Hello, my name is XXXXX XXXXX it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today.Ok thank you leave it with me I need to look up a few things and then get my advice ready.I will post back on here when done there is no need to wait and you will receive an email when I have responded.


? Do I have to pay this back in full.
? Can I only pay a % back
? Do I have to contact HMRC.
? I brought this to light being honest. I feel this is a punishment


Optional Information:
System of Law: England-and-Wales

Ben Jones :

Thank you for clarifying. If someone has genuinely been overpaid by their employer, then that is not money to which they are legally entitled and it should be repaid.


However, an employee may be able to use the legal defence of ‘estoppel’ to resist an employer's recovery of an overpayment. One of the main cases dealing with this is that of County Council of Avon v Howlett. The employee was a teacher who was paid more sick pay than he was entitled to. The teacher queried the overpayments with the employer but was assured they were correct. By the time the Council had realised their mistake, the teacher had spent most of that money. The Court of Appeal held that the defence of estoppel prevented the employer from recovering the whole sum of the overpayment.


The way estoppel operates is that if the following conditions are satisfied, then an employee should be able to use it as a defence to resist the recovery of an earlier overpayment:

  • 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

  • The employee has since 'changed their position', meaning they have spent the money in question


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' and prevent the claim for proceeding any further.


Now to answer your specific questions:


(Q 1) I brought this to light. Do I have to pay it all back in one go.


Not necessarily, it is possible to arrange a repayment plan with the employer, especially if you make it clear that this is all you can do at present and even if they were to sue you to get the full amount you are unlikely to be able to satisfy any court judgment and in the end it would still be repaid over a period of time rather than in one lump sum.


(Q 2) Do I have to tell HMRC ie Tax.


They will have to be informed because there would have been an overpayment of taxes so both you and the employer should be owed a rebate


(Q 3) Can I pay back a % only.


Yes as mentioned in the answer to Q1


(Q 4) Is this classed as my fault.


No, this is not your fault, especially as you asked them to check the figures and you were advised they were correct – this is the employer’s error, not yours


(Q 5) I retire Feb 2015 will I have to use my state pension to meet any outstanding debt.


That may be a possibility, but something only you will decide. You will obviously have to find the money from somewhere but whether it comes from your pension income o elsewhere is up to you.


A 6) I have money saved for retirement do I use that to pay out once and forget.


Again, that depends on you and how you wish to use that money. You could use part pension and part savings, or all pension or all savings – it really is up to you and how you wish to juggle your finances.

Customer: Thank-you! I understand the answer to my questions.
Customer: Just one more. .
Customer: ? If I pay back in full can I ask for a discount. After all if left this situation would have escalated into a financial mess. I clock on/ off daily. I did run it past my Line Manager. Now I have to take on the extra load. This does take away the honesty of conferring.
Ben Jones :

that is certainly something you can try and arrange in them - it is not a legal issue really though , rather than one for negotiation between you and the employer. They may simply be happy to accept a reduced amount if paid in a lump sum now but they may also refuse and hold out for the full amount, it is really a negotiable matter. If you do agree a reduced amount make sure it is greed in writing as a full and final settlement of all sums owed

Ben Jones :

Please let me know if this has answered your original question or if you need me to clarify anything else for you in relation to this? Thanks

Customer: Thank- you for your time. I understand the situation at least it has saved digging a hole for myself.
Ben Jones :

You are most welcome, all the best

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