Payroll Services Overpayments


RCW 49.48.210 defines “overpayment” as a payment of salaries or wages for a pay period that is greater than the amount earned for a pay period. This is the same definition Payroll Services has always followed. This is consistent with the Washington State Constitution Article VIII Section 5, “The credit of the state shall not, in any manner be given or loaned to, or in aid of, any individual, association, company or corporation”, which has been cited by the State Auditor’s Office when alleging overpayments. Retaining an overpayment may also violate the state ethics laws. It is not appropriate for the Employing Department to suggest that an employee who has been overpaid gets to keep the money. (Employing Departments do have the right to correct time report/leave reports which may reverse original pay-affecting results.) For these reasons it continues to be the policy of Payroll Services to aggressively recover overpayments as quickly as possible while working with employees and their departments. If the overpayment involves an employee covered by a collective bargaining agreement, the recovery methods in the collective bargaining agreement should be followed.

Collection of Overpayment

Active Employees

If you have been mistakenly overpaid, your department will contact you. If you find an overpayment before you have been reached out to, please contact the payroll personnel for your department. Your department will explain the circumstances of the error, discuss the repayment process and get your written consent to deduct the overpayment from your future paycheck until the amount has been repaid.

Other options for recovery of overpayments for active employees include bringing your physical pay check back in before it is deposited. Payroll can stop this check and re-issue you a new check for the amount you should have received. Regardless of how you received the original payment, you can also choose to write a check to WSU for the net amount of the overpayment. If you choose to do this option, you will need to contact Payroll Services at for the correct net amount.

Separated Employees

If you are a separated employee, your department will contact you about the overpayment. The only option for repaying an overpayment as a separated employee is to write a check back. You will need to contact Payroll Services at for the net amount. Payroll Services can also answer any questions about the process and how it will be reflected on your W2.

RCW 49.48.200 provides that any overpaid amount still outstanding at termination shall be deducted from the earnings of the final pay period which may lower the annual leave, sick leave and/or compensatory time payoff amount.

**At any point if Payroll Services does not hear from you regarding your overpayment a certified letter will be sent to you. If the overpayment is still not resolved, your overpayment will be sent to collections.