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Employment Law/Leave without pay

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Question
My question is this.  I was submitting my timesheet properly marked with leave, and when payroll processed the timesheet, for an entire year they never charged me the leave without pay, instead they paid me for it every time.  I didn't notice because it seemed that my paycheck fluctuated each time.  Now, they found the error and wants me to pay back money, but it wasn't my fault.  Is there anything that I can do to avoid this?  To make matters worse, they want it paid back in 3 months time and it is over $2K.  Is there any help for me?

Thanks in advance

Answer
Patricia - You have an obligation to repay the money, whether or not it was your employer's fault.  The law on payroll deductions is that they cannot result in you receiving less than the minimum wage for the number of hours you worked in the work week.  Check your wages each time you are paid and calculate the proper amount of the deduction, i.e., is it $7.25 time hours worked less taxes?  If it is, you are receiving the required amount of pay.  You should also keep track of how much is deducted to avoid other bookkeeping mistakes on the part of the payroll department.

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Margaret M. deMarteleire

Expertise

I can answer most questions about employment law, federal or state. I am an attorney, not an HR professional, so questions about HR careers, coursework, prospects, etc. are not within my scope.

Experience

Attorney for 20 years, currently working exclusively with employment law - FLSA, FMLA, federal contracts, pay, etc.

Education/Credentials
Temple University School of Liberal Arts, BA, Rhetoric & Communication, 1982 Temple University School of Law, JD, 1990 Certificate in HR, Cornell University ILR School, 2006

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