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‘I would act clueless but save the extra money in case you have to pay it back’: Worker gets higher raise than they were supposed to

‘Depending on who is in charge of payroll they may never notice.’


Jack Alban


Redditor u/masterofcrowss posed an interesting question to the r/antiwork subreddit: “Got a higher raise than I was supposed to, do I say anything?” Talk about champagne problems.  

The redditor provided a little background in their post.

“So last month we were informed at work that everyone was getting a 15 percent raise, which isn’t going to be a lot with my paycheck because I’m working as a part time student … On monday the paycheck goes through and i got a lot more than a should have … I got a 35 percent raise instead of 15. I checked with two other coworkers and the only got the expected 15 percent, the only difference is that they are full-time employees, and I’m part-time.”

Then they explained the moral quandary they had about the raise they ended up receiving.

“So I’m just wondering what the hell I’m supposed to do? This is my first job and i don’t know if this is something im supposed to report to my manager, do I act clueless and pretend i didn’t notice the difference? Or given the fact i still haven’t gotten the email, do you think they figured it out immediately and are just waiting for me to come to work to tell me it was a mistake? Could i have any legal repercussion if i keep quiet? Any advice would be great.”

While most workers are being denied raises outright, it seems this redditor has the opposite problem.

Many users in the comments section pointed out that sometimes a pay raise can be retroactive, which is a process by which employers reimburse employees who were either not paid or underpaid during a previous payroll cycle. One person suggested that the redditor, “Wait until [their] 2nd paycheck to compare.”

However, others suggested that best course of action would be for the worker to wait and see how it played out.

“I would act clueless but save the extra money in case you have to pay it back,” wrote one user.

Another also suggested the worker not say anything, and shared their own experience of receiving a raise by mistake. “You shut the f*ck up … It happened to me once to get me 6K I wasn’t supposed to get. Know what I did? I shut the f*ck up.”

But would there be repercussions for the worker if they did not let their manager know about the mistake? Under U.S. federal law, employers have the legal right to reclaim funds that have been mistakenly overpaid, but workers are under no legal obligation to report the mistake.

However, state-level statutes affect how the companies can go about reclaiming the money. One user, claiming to be an accountant, shared their thoughts on the matter.

“Accountant here. I do payroll at my company. Depending on who is in charge of payroll they may never notice. Don’t go in telling everyone and see what happens. If you still have the new pay rate on your second check then someone input that amount as your new base pay rate and they haven’t noticed. If they DO happen to notice they are required by law (depending on your states laws) to inform you in writing how much you were overpaid and outline how they intend to recoup those funds. This wasn’t caused by you so no need to feel nervous.”

So while it would not be illegal for mastercrowss to keep the raise, it could certainly damage their reputation at work. It seems that the best course of action for the redditor would be to alert their manager to the error.

The DailyDot reached out to masterofcrowss for comment via Reddit direct message.

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