Know Your Rights : Underpayments and Overpayments





Underpayments and Overpayments


One of the key issues that affects ASMOF members is being underpaid and in some cases overpaid by their employer.

ASMOF is able to assist our members when they have been underpaid or overpaid. In fact, ASMOF’s industrial officers have collected well over 2 million dollars in back pay for our members in recent years.


Underpayment claims
In an underpayment claim the steps to be taken are as follows:

  • In the first instance, ASMOF will review your claim and primary documents such as rosters, pay slips and time sheets to undertake the underpayment calculations
  • Secondly, ASMOF will draft correspondence setting out your claim to your employer. Many disputes about wages are resolved by the parties before commencing proceedings
  • If the matter cannot be resolved by negotiations, the next step involves commencing proceedings
    • If you are a state government employee, the matter is commenced in the Industrial Relations Court of NSW or the New South Wales Industrial Relations Commission
    • If you are an employee in the federal system, the matter is usually commenced in the Federal Circuit Court or the Federal Court of Australia for more complex matters
    • Civil Penalties may apply for breaches of the relevant Award of industrial instrument for both state and federal system employees.

Tips to avoid being underpaid

  Always check your pay slips

  Make sure you aware of all of your entitlements such as overtime, allowances and penalty rates. If you aren’t sure, contact ASMOF

  Keep records of all time worked

  You have six years to make an underpayment claim (from the date you should have been paid)


Overpayment claims
Frequently our members are informed that they have been overpaid by their employer due to pay roll errors. 

If your employer alleges you have been overpaid, the steps to be taken are:

  • Confirm that the overpayment alleged is actually correct;
  • If it is correct, depending on the sum owed, you are required to repay the amount
  • For employees employed in the public health system, the Salary - Recovery of Overpayments for NSW Health Service Employees Policy Directive provides that:
    • One off overpayments will be recovered in the next normal pay, except that where the employee can demonstrate that undue hardship would result, the recovery rate shall be at 10% of an employee’s gross fortnightly base pay
    • Unless the employee agrees otherwise, the maximum rate at which cumulative overpayments can be recovered is an amount, calculated on a per fortnight basis, equivalent to 10% of the employee’s gross fortnightly base pay. 
    • The recovery rate of 10% of an employee’s gross fortnightly base pay referred may be reduced by agreement, where the employee can demonstrate that undue hardship would result.
  • Where an employee separates from their employer with an outstanding salary overpayment, the overpayment will be automatically deducted from monies owing to the employee on separation or if it is not realised at the time of separation the employer may contact you at a later date to obtain the overpayment amount. 
  • Healthshare has the following Overpayment Standards which can be viewed below.

Standards for Overpayments Standards for Overpayments (1557 KB)

Recovery of Overpayments - Factsheet Recovery of Overpayments - Factsheet (88 KB)



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