The BBC reported that army helicopter pilots were over paid, and that the Ministry of Defence is aiming to recoup the over payments.

What surprised me is the length of time between over payment and action from the Ministry of Defence:

A freedom of information request showed £829,000 in overpayments had been made to 210 pilots between 2007 and 2013, because of the administrative mistake.

In cases where over payment has happened, how long does an employer have to recoup the payment before that money becomes the employees?

Source: Army helicopter pilots quit in overpayment row


Normally the statute of limitations is five or six years (I think it's different between Scotland and the rest of the UK). The reason for the limitation is that if your employer asks for money back, you obviously should be able to defend yourself, for example by proving that you never received that money. After five or six years it is assumed that you wouldn't be able to provide any such evidence, so nobody can ask for the money back anymore.

That's not specific to overpaid wages but quite general.

In addition there is the question whether the pilots should have known they were overpaid. For example, I'm quite happy with my salary, but if it was less, I would look for and find a different job that pays better. If the company claimed in five years time that I had been overpaid all the time, then I would say that if they had given me the "correct" lower payment, I would have found a better job elsewhere, so asking me to repay the money seems quite unfair.

(Why do you need to defend yourself? Maybe your salary was £3,000 per month. Someone in the right position records that they are paying you £4,000 but puts £3,000 into your account and £1,000 into their own. Then that person has an accident and their replacement finds that you were overpaid according to their records.)

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.