I left my last employer in the UK end of last year, but he still pays me my monthly salary. (It feels like one of these surreal dreams) In march I told them about it and asked how I should deal with it. But even though I addressed it to my CFO and copied in the CEO, the CFO only replied to some other questions in the same email, but ignored the overpayment issue. Since then I still get monthly payments, but I'm not sure whether I can keep it or if I need to save it until they realise that error? It would be great if someone can help me with this, because I'm not familiar with the UK law system as I'm from another European country.

Are there any deadlines for them to notify me? What are the chances for me to keep the money? (only from a legal point of view, not from a moral one)

  • 6
    You need to save the money. Do not spend it. It is not yours, you don't have the right to use it, and the company may tell you to return it at any time.
    – user53718
    Jun 7, 2017 at 19:20
  • 1
    Are you also having taxes taken out of these checks?
    – schizoid04
    Jun 7, 2017 at 20:34
  • I really feel the realistic thing to do here is aggressively telephone everyone at the company, from the top down. forget emails etc - telephone. be extremely clear that you are going to keep and spend the money unless they resolve the issue that day.
    – Fattie
    Jun 8, 2017 at 14:04

2 Answers 2


Verify all of this with an attorney, but I believe it works like this.

Take the money and put it in an escrow account. Leave it there until that appropriate statutes run out. Make a sincere effort to return the money, which means keep trying but put a REASONABLE effort into it. Save all of your correspondence as proof that you made a sincere effort. After whatever applicable statutes run out, the money becomes yours.

  • From memory for over payments in the UK if you have spent it (accidently of course) you have to pay it back but if you can say paying back all in one go will cause hard ship you can pay it back over a reasonable time. Jun 7, 2017 at 21:56

No, you cannot keep it. At least, not officially. As Nij commented, do not spend it. The best you can do in such a situation is to put this money on a 100% safe investment, like savings products without minimum duration. At least you will be able to keep any interests earn when you will have to give the money back. You may also do several actions:

  1. Inform in an official way you ex-employer. I do not know if an email is a sufficient proof you warned them in UK.
  2. Take a look about how to declare it. UK equivalent of IRS may find suspicious (and/or illegal) that you earn money which is maybe not declared. Do you still get pay sheets?
  • HMRC will be taking PAYE so no 2 isn't a major issue it might put you over into the higher rate and without a p60 you might get put on the wrong tax code for your new job Jun 7, 2017 at 21:59

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