Yesterday, one of my associate, "Jane" told me about a problem she's having at her full time job.
Jane had signed up for health insurance and was told that that a little over $50 will be taken out of her pay check going forward. No problem. Well, now it's the end of the year and her HR Manager tells her that a mistake has been made and that they hadn't been taking money out of her paycheck so now she owes the company over $1300.
Jane argued that she should not have to repay any of the money since she didn't do anything wrong. She authorized them to take money out of her pay check to pay for insurance and if they didn't do that then it's not her fault. The company is arguing that she should pay it back since it's her responsibility to check her pay stub and she should have noticed, and reported, the discrepancy.
I don't know what the law requires but I think the fairest thing to do would be to split the cost since both are liable. Her company made the mistake in not taking money out of her paycheck for insurance. However, Jane should be checking her paycheck. Since both is at fault, the fairest thing to do would be to split.
It's really poor practice for a company to expect someone to fork over $1300 on such a short notice, especially this time of the year. I don't know what Jane's finance looks like but there are a lot of people out there who don't have that kind of a saving. If they do expect her to pay for the full amount the least they can do is work out a payment plan. Maybe suggest that for the next coming year they will take out $100 vs the $50 to make up for this year?
Jane is pretty amendment about not paying and is considering maybe agreeing to pay for part of it. Personally, if it were me, I would just pay back the $1300. For one, it's something that I should have been paying all along and it's something that I used and benefited from. But, most importantly, I would do it just to guarantee job security. Even if I have the law on my side (and I'm not saying that I do) the worst thing you can do for yourself is lose your boss's trust. If your manager thinks you're unethical then your career at that company is pretty much over. She works for a small company and maybe that $1300 means a lot to that company. If her boss thinks that she is stealing from the company by not paying back the money then they're just going to start wondering if she is stealing by other means as well. I just wouldn't want my boss harboring anything "Must get this person out of here!" feeling about me. Next thing you know I'm getting written up for job performance, hostile work environment, and all kinds of other vague things. No thank you, not worth the $1300.