Purpose and scope

(1) To ensure the responsible stewardship of its resources, the University will recover all overpayments of salaries, however this may have occurred.

(2) A salary overpayment is:

  • where an employee or worker has been paid more than they should have received under their contract of employment with the University:
  • an underpayment by the employee or worker of pension contributions, income tax, national insurance or other statutory or voluntary deduction.

(3) The recovery of overpayments of salaries is permitted under section 14 of the Employment Rights Act. There may be statutory limitations on the recovery of underpaid statutory deductions.

(4) Normally, the University will seek to recover all overpayments, however small.

Employee responsibilities

(5) If an employee considers there has been an error in their salary which has resulted in an overpayment of salary or an underpayment of pension contributions, income tax, national insurance or other statutory or voluntary deduction, they should contact the Pay and Benefits Office (email: payandbenefits@exeter.ac.uk) at the earliest opportunity.

Current Employees

(6) Human Resources will write to the employee to advise them of the overpayment and the arrangements for recovering the overpayment, normally within one calendar month of the overpayment being discovered.

(7) The University will normally recover the overpayment by payroll deductions over the same number of months as the period of overpayment.

(8) Exceptionally, where the employee is able to produce evidence of hardship, the Director of Human Resources (or designate) may agree to a longer recovery period of up to the longer of 12 months (or 12 months longer than the period of overpayment).

(9) Wherever possible, any overpayment which remains unrecovered at the time the employment ends will be deducted from the employee’s final salary payment.

Former employees

(10) Human Resources will write to the former employee to repay the outstanding payment to the University in a single payment normally within one calendar month of the overpayment being discovered.

(11) If no repayment is received in this period, Human Resources will refer the issue to Accounts Receivable in Finance Services. The University’s policy and procedures on debt recovery and write-off of debt will then apply. This normally involves Accounts Receivable raising a formal invoice which gives 30 days to pay before debt recovery proceedings - which will include taking whatever legal steps are necessary to recover the debt., including court proceedings – are initiated.

Human Resources - December 2011