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Do I Have To Pay For A Payroll Mistake?

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Question: Our payroll department accidentally set up a part-time employee as full-time, causing sick and vacation time to accrue. He recently requested to use some of his sick time. Can we disallow usage of a benefit that was accrued by mistake, and zero out the accrued time?

Answer: The strict legal answer is yes, because the employee is not entitled to the leave nor is he entitled to take advantage of a mistake. However, it’s also worth considering softening the negative impact on the employee of denying him leave due to the company’s mistake, and in the interest of good will, and depending on the number of days the employee wants to take. You won’t be creating a precedent by affording leave this one time under these unique circumstances.

This response is intended for general informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice or a legal opinion, nor is this column a substitute for formal legal assistance.

Hilary Atkins

Posted In: Legal

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