I am 'basically' the Human Resource manager for my firm, which is comprised of 12 employees, in the insurance industry and we net well over a million dollars per year. We are categorized as a small company, but we work internationally with very well recognized companies all over the world. So the other day, Friday - the day before everyone in my particular office (5 of us) went on vaca, I received a call from one of the staff in another office out of state. Seems that although she is working 48hours/pay period, she's been getting paid 80hours/pay period - since last October 2009. I guesstimate that she was overpaid by roughly $8500. She has offered to pay back initially $4100 and then pay off the balance. There was a period last summer when we were in the process of hiring a new office manager for her office that she filled in and worked full time, but her hours changed October 1st and went from FT to PT - though those changes never took place with our payroll company. And that is where I am at fault. I apparently never conveyed those changes in her salary to our bookkeeper who handles our payroll through a nationally known (very expensive) payroll firm. Upon learning of this, I called our bookkeeper, presented the facts and asked her what happens next and also to not tell my boss until we know all the info we need. I want to present this to him next Monday when we all return to the office. I didn't want to tell him over the phone while he's on vaca and have him ask 8 million questions that I didn't have the answers to. By Monday I will have more info - I already have enough, but he's on vaca and I know it will just freak him out if I tell him over the phone. Plus, the employee wants to explain to him what happened in her life this past year herself. What I have learned from the employee is that she has been in a state of flux for the past year, living on friends and family couches, sharing her checking account with her adult daughter and basically living out of her car. I knew she was experiencing difficulties, though I had no idea as to what extent. Anyway, when she saw the higher balances on her banking receipts, she thought nothing of it as she believed those funds to be her daughter's. She doesn't do on line banking and hasn't opened her pay stub or a bank statement since last summer!! Last week, she finally opened a pay stub and she said the floor fell out from under her - she was in shock and called me sobbing. She has about $4100 to pay back to the company initially, though she will have to pay the rest in installments. And she only work 24 hours/week, so how she will manage I have no idea. But back to me and my culpability. I wish my boss was not away because I would go see him ASAP and explain everything to him. I am kind of freaking out a little bit because of my position as HR person, it would have been up to me to notify the bookkeeper of the salary change and I apparently did not. I do recall discussing the salary change, though it may have been with the employee, her manager in that office, or with the bookkeeper - I don't recall. I was going through my own stuff at that time, i.e., my mother's stuff, etc., and we were heading into the holiday season. Not making excuses, just saying. On top of that, I usually almost always, 99.9% of the time, state any changes like this in an email so I have the receipt and proof that I informed whoever. The last email I can find concerning this employee's salary change was the one stating she would be FT until a specified date (which was 5/31, but that changed when our then new manager quit so she had to stay on full time a little longer), but nothing about her going back to PT on October 1st. I don't want to throw anyone under the bus and the employee wants to take 100% of the responsibility, but it's not sitting well with me. I am not in any position to pay any additional costs involved with rectifying the situation, however, I do feel that I am in part to blame for this mishap. Our company will incur costs to rectify the payroll, taxes and W-2's at a cost of near $750. Should I offer to pay that and let the employee just pay back what she was overpaid or should I take responsibility for the whole of it - the added costs as well as her overpayment? IOW, who is most culpable for this error - the company or the employee or is it split 50/50? Anyone with accounting or payroll experience: You input is greatly appreciated! Thanks!