I have been told by the payroll department that I have been overpaid. Can my employer make deductions from wages without my agreement?

The Employment Rights Act allows an employer to recover overpayment of wages, which includes expenses and other allowances. Such a deduction from wages would therefore be lawful.

However, where a worker genuinely believes he or she was entitled to the overpayment and has already spent the money (usually on exceptional or non-regular purchases) in good faith, a civil court might sometimes decide that the employer was not entitled to recover it.

If you think you have been overpaid, you should contact your employer immediately to check whether or not you are entitled to the ‘extra’ money. Not only should this stop you spending money to which you are not entitled, it could make it much harder for your employer to later deduct the amount in question from your wages on the basis of an overpayment.

Note: This content is provided as general background information and should not be taken as legal advice or financial advice for your particular situation. Make sure to get individual advice on your case from your union, a source on our free help page or an independent financial advisor before taking any action.