Do I have to pay back overpayments that were mistakenly paid to me?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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Do I have to pay back overpayments that were mistakenly paid to me?

I’m a property manager and at my previous property I was getting $19.95 an hour. I went on maternity leave and when I returned to work I was given another property. At the beginning of this month I did a payroll change form with my RM. My RM notified HR via email the next day about my the change. I noticed on payday (midmonth) that I was getting paid the same amount as I was at my previous property. HR is now stating that I have to pay back the overpayments since they received the form late. They’ve had weeks to make this change to payroll. Do I have to pay back the overpayments?

Asked on January 27, 2018 under Employment Labor Law, California


M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

Any overpayment mistakenly made by an employer must be returned. The reason is that to let you keep it would constitute an "unjust enrichment" and this is something that the law disfavors. Accordingly, you must repaythe funds inadvertenly given you. And think about it, if you had been shorted you would be entitled to the money due you.

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