Mistakes are an unfortunate reality of doing business, but mistakes with payroll are different – and potentially extremely problematic.  When you overpay an employee, you lose money. When you underpay an employee, you agitate him or her – and could potentially face legal repercussions. These instances occur more frequently with hourly employees but can happen to salaried workers as well. Here’s how to handle each situation.

According to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), employers that make a one-time overpayment to an employee can recoup the overpayment by deducting that amount from the employee’s next paycheck. (Keep in mind state regulations can differ.) But don’t go rogue. Keep your employees informed by following these 4 steps:

Determine how much you overpaid the employee during the pay period.
Contact the employee you overpaid and breakdown the situation (no need to panic)
Inform them you plan to deduct the overpayment out of their next paycheck
Ask them if this will cause a financial burden (remember, when an employee receives extra money–whether they notice it or not–they may spend it right away).(If yes, try to arrange installments that you both agree on. This will hopefully reduce the changes of resentment.)

(If no, simply make the deduction.)

If an employee has been underpaid, it needs to be fixed as soon as possible. Follow our step-by-step guide to working out how to fix an underpayment:

  1. Work out how long the employee has been underpaid
  2. Work out how much the employee was actually paid
  3. Work out how much the employee should have been paid
  4. Calculate how much the employee has been underpaid
  5. Backpay the employee
  6. Keep up to date with future wage increases

Because the number one reason for overpayment or underpayment is human error, you should consider automating your payroll process if you haven’t already. To learn more about how Highflyer can help your company avoid complicated payroll mistakes, call us today or visit https://www.highflyerhr.com/our-solution/payroll/.