Overpayment Statute of Limitations

One listener wants to know how long her former employer has to collect money it sent her by mistake. I’m Amy E. Feldman.

Laura worked for a company until it merged with a new company but left after one day at the new company. She was paid for her one work day and accrued vacation, but a week later she got another check. She can’t access payroll records but believes the payment was sent by mistake, so she notified the company who said they’d look into it. That was three months ago. 

She knows—one hopes from listening to these reports—you gotta give back money sent in error, but her question is whether there’s a time limit on how long they can come back to get it. Laura, I hate to tell you, but the company has at least two years to collect the overpayment, maybe longer depending on the state. So you might want to try reaching out again if only to confirm it’s not really yours—maybe they paid in arrears and you did work it, but if you didn’t and have to give it back, be happy you don’t work somewhere so disorganized.

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