Taking Act ion on Payrol l Overpayments and Underpayments
You may have seen recent news reports about payroll problems in health care. The stories raise
issues that are not new to CUPE, and we wanted to take this opportunity to share with you some of
the steps we are taking and that you can take to ensure any errors are properly addressed.
Your CUPE local is there to help you resolve payroll errors with your employer. As a member of
CUPE, you are covered by a collective agreement, and you have certain rights and obligations
when it comes to both overpayments and underpayments or other payroll errors. CUPE believes
that all errors should be resolved in a reasonable way, whether employers owe employees pay or
benefits, or employees owe employers.
When the employer accidentally pays you too much, it’s an overpayment. When you should
receive pay but do not, or receive too little, it’s an underpayment. There are sometimes errors with
overtime, statutory holidays, vacation banks or sick time/income protection banks, and other errors
as well.
There have been problems with SAP, with overpayment requests from the WRHA reaching as far
back as 2013, and underpayments or errors that have taken too long to fix or not been resolved.
While errors do happen, CUPE has consistently raised concerns about the SAP payroll system
implemented in 2012, and we have advocated for faster problem-solving and more personal
service, so that you are not out of pocket. Situations are often resolved fairly and in accordance
with the collective agreement, but when they are not, CUPE can help.
CUPE has asked the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority (WRHA) to stop requesting repayment
outside of what the collective agreement allows. When overpayments occurred in 2013, CUPE filed
numerous grievances. Our view was upheld in a 2015 arbitration ruling, and the WRHA was told to
follow the collective agreement. More recently, we have once again filed numerous grievances for
overpayments and underpayments, as well as quota bank errors. One of the overpayment
grievances has been referred to arbitration, and we will continue to work for fairness.
CUPE Manitoba – Provincial Health Care Council
204.942.0343  1.800.552.2873  
Know Your Rights
Members who have received overpayment notices are covered by the Overpayments article of the
Collective Agreement. These protections are in place to ensure that there is a fair and transparent
The employer has 12 months from the date the error occurred to initiate collection. If you have
been notified by the employer within 12 months from the time of the error, you can work with your
employer to arrange for repayment of the amount. If you have repaid an amount from more than
12 months ago, we can seek your reimbursement. If you have already opened a payroll support
“ticket” with SAP, you can let them know that the request for repayment is outside of the 12-month
timeline and you will not be paying it.
You are also entitled to a detailed breakdown of the error as soon as practicable, within 10 days of
the discovery of the error. You are entitled to a fair and reasonable recovery method and timeline.
If you retire or stop being an employee for other reasons, the employer can recoup the
overpayment, but must do so at the time of retirement or termination – not later.
For smaller amounts, the employer can provide a detailed breakdown and a proposed recovery
schedule with the letter to you, asking for repayment.
For larger payments (over 10% of the employee’s normal biweekly earnings before deductions and
over $150) you are entitled to a meeting to discuss a proposed recovery schedule as soon as
If you disagree with the employer’s claim, you can let them know with the help of your union.
If you have received less pay than you should have, or notice other payroll errors, contact payroll
(Human Resources Shared Services – HRSS) and report it, giving as much detail as possible and
make sure to obtain an incident number. Let your local union know as well.
If you have been underpaid by at least (1) normal day’s pay in a pay period, the employer should
pay you back within three (3) business days once you make the request. Some employers have
asked that employees let them know by Wednesday of any errors in order to process a payroll
correction by Friday, but this is not stated in collective agreements. You may ask at any time to be
paid back within three (3) business days.