What to do if you have been paid incorrectly | Association of Anaesthetists

What to do if you have been paid incorrectly

What to do if you have been paid incorrectly

Incorrect pay remains a major problem amongst anaesthetic trainees in the UK. The Association of Anaesthetists /RCoA 2018/2019 pay survey found that 55% of trainees received inaccurate or late pay, with approximately a third of this group suffering on multiple occasions [1]. I have been the victim of this, having been overpaid, underpaid and paid late (although never paid early!). So, what should you do if you are paid incorrectly?

Check your payslip

If you think that you have been paid incorrectly, it is important that you study your payslip to identify the cause of incorrect pay as soon as possible. Causes of incorrect pay include:

  • An incorrect tax code 
  • Incorrect pay banding 
  • Incorrect repayment of student loan 
  • Incorrect pension contribution 
  • Incorrect locum payment

It is important that you identify the cause of your incorrect pay, as this will assist you in identifying what you need to do to rectify it. If you are unsure how to interpret your payslip, please see the ‘Knowing your payslip’ article from the June 2018 issue of Anaesthesia News (371).

Who should I speak to?

Contact your payroll department to notify them of the error as soon as possible. If you have been underpaid, this will give you the best chance of receiving the money you are owed in a timely manner. If you have been overpaid, don’t be tempted to stay quiet. Failing to notify your employer of an overpayment could be viewed as fraudulent, so honesty is the best policy! You should also speak to an appropriate figure within your department who has experience of dealing with payroll. They will be able to take up the issue, and also offer support and advice.

If the error is related to taxation, this is likely to be due to an incorrect (often emergency) tax code. In this instance, you should speak to HMRC to correct this, who will notify your employer of the error.

Timescale for payment/repayment

It is important to agree a clear time scale for payment of money owed, or return of overpayment. An employer will typically wish to pay any money owed to an employee on the next payday. If the underpayment leaves you at risk of financial hardship, such as missing rent or mortgage payments, communicate this to payroll - it may be possible to arrange an earlier payment. When an employee has been overpaid, trusts will recover the amount owed by deduction of salary on the next payday. If the amount owed is large, request that a repayment plan be put in place, in which a smaller amount is deducted over several months. When discussing repayment, remain calm and professional – but do not allow yourself to be put in a position of financial hardship.

Escalation strategy

Make sure that you chase the payroll department regarding errors in pay – a single phone call is rarely enough. Writing an email to follow up any phone calls ensures that there is written evidence of any discussions. If you feel that your concerns are not being listened to, ask to speak to a member of payroll management. If you are still unhappy with what is being offered, seek advice and support from senior figures within your department. External organisations, such as the Association of Anaesthetists or BMA, are another useful source of support. If you still do not think that you are being treated appropriately, submit your grievances in writing to senior payroll management. Many hospitals have a grievance procedure which should be followed, so check first.

Rhys Clyburn
Elected Member Association of Anaesthetists Trainee Committee
ST7, University Hospital of Wales, Cardiff


  1. Association of Anaesthetists. Trainee pay issues survey: Association statement, 2019. https://anaesthetists.org/Home/Membership/Trainees/Trainee-pay-issues-survey-Association-statement (accessed 07.03.2020).