Former Employer Accidentally Paid Me


They say accidents are unwanted and unprecedented moments however not all accidents bring havoc. Imagine it’s the 15th or any other random date when you are expecting your payment and suddenly you receive an email from your former company crediting you with a certain sum of money. Amidst surprise, your very first action would be to decode the reason behind this accidental payment from your former employer. Let us know what to do if your former employer accidentally paid you and the reasons for accidentally paid by the former employer in this article.

Former Employer Accidentally Paid Me

Former employer means the employer under whom a person was previously employed. To make it more clear, a person might have joined a company say A but after working for some time that person due to any reason would have shifted to a new company say B for any reason would have left the earlier company then that person becomes the former employer of that company and his /her boss becomes the former employer. Therefore in this article, we would discuss this situation by finding  the reasons and solutions to such happenings.  The very first step would be to bring out the reasons why the former employer has made the payment, whether it was an error, accident, or was it done intentionally.

Reason behind the accidental payment from the former employer to you

The following are the reasons for accidentally paid by the former employer.

1.Some sort of management error

The scope of error always lies in a business or in the administration of a company no matter how better or efficient a company is. This error may be caused due to human or machines. It may be caused at any level. It may be caused due to lack of updation of records and reserves. For example, the company might have not updated or cross-checked the employee data and would still hold your name in the employee list. Management is the key payment settlement and management body a lack of proactiveness on the company’s part could have caused such an error. 

2.Technical glitch

Technology is an active player in today’s world. It plays a huge role in bringing ease to the role and jobs of people. Technology plays a huge role in reducing human efforts moreover, it does not just complement but rather speeds up the entire system. However, technology is not foolproof and is prone to some faults. Technology does has some limitations it is prone to mistakes. Moreover, it is always vulnerable to cyber-attacks and other hacking potential. You should make an effort to look at whether or not this received payment is due to a technical glitch on any part.

3.Payment of leftover incentives

This accidental payment from the former employee may be the result of the leftover perks or incentives at the company. It may also be the cost of the project on which the former employee would have worked. It can be the leftover income that the company would have kept as a reserve or security with itself. There also may be a possibility that the employee would have invested in the company or any bonds of the company during the days in which he/she was employed in the company that would have attained maturity. Companies usually follow this policy of paying the employee for his work and it might be a payment for any of the former work in that company whose payment would have been delayed.

4.Intentional motive

Former companies in order to get their good and hardworking employees back usually use this strategy by attracting them with a handsome pay so that they could return to the company. It may be a plan of the company to regain its employee base. A company always wants to hold on to its best employee. An accidental-looking payment may sometimes be an intentional payment in order to bring that lost human capital back to that company. Companies usually have the habit of keeping their best employee even at the cost of high pay as in the long run these employees would help in increasing the profit of that company. A huge amount of accidental payment from the former employee may be a sure sort of motive.

5. As acknowledgement or reward

Good companies usually have the habit of recognizing and appreciating the work of their good employees. They follow the principle of one’s an employee always an employee and hence keep on rewarding the employees be it the current or the former with gifts and cash payments. This is usually maybe done at festivals or on the eve of the new year. This also acts as a motivation for the employee who feels connected to their former company. Acknowledgment is always welcomed and is largely accepted by the employee. It forms a healthy practice of corporate governance.

Now, after exploring the reasons behind the accidental payment it becomes necessary to discuss on the steps that need to be taken in such a situation. Further, it would be discussed as to what can be the steps the person could take if he/she is trapped in such a situation.  Remedies and some solutions and ways to tackle this situation are discussed below.

Steps to be taken in such a situation

1.Informing the designated former authourity

On receiving the accidental payment from the former employee the very first step should be to inform the designated concerned authority of that former company. On the achievement of the payment, an email or a call should be done immediately. Even though a person is a former employee of that company but any payment received in such an accidental way that may be illegitimate or unknown should not be accepted. Information is the basic responsibility of an employee towards his organization even if the person has left or is currently not serving in that company.

2.Basic inquiry

Informing the authorities is necessary but not sufficient. It is important for the person who has received the payment from the former employee to inquire into the matter. It is required on the part of the employee to analyze the situation and to review and analyze its occurrence. The inquiry also solves several dilemmas and confusions that may be accustomed. It could play a huge role in finding the true nature of the payment whether it was unintentional and accidental or it has a motive behind it. A good employee should always be aware and vigilant.

3.Directly ask for the reason

This is the most straightforward approach that an individual can follow. Accidental payment always brings with it a sense of doubt and confusion. As a former employee, the person can directly drop a mail or a letter to his former boss asking about the reason behind such a happening. If the payment would have been accidental then the employee can return the money to the company. Direct communication would be driven under it which stands as a healthy component of the corporate world.

After knowing the reason behind that accidental payment received from the former employer, the person has the following options available in front of him/her-

Accept that payment

The person may have the privilege to accept that payment if it has a legitimate base. If the payment is in return for a worked project, or assignment or if it is a sort of delayed payment it should be accepted by the employee. Even though presently the person may not be working under his/her former employee but the person always has the right to get paid for his/her work. Moreover, if the payment has been received as a form of recognition or a sort of acknowledgment or gift then it should be the call of the individual to accept it or not. Usually, gifts and acknowledgment from former employers and companies are accepted by an individual as they stand as a facilitation of their hard work and dedication.

Deny that payment

If that accidental payment has some hidden agenda or motive. If it is provided to attract the employee back to his/her former company then the person should avoid accepting it. Moreover, if the source and authenticity of the payment are unclear then also the person should avoid accepting such accidental payment. In case of some management issue or technical glitch, the person should rather than quietly accept it should, by all means, inform the concerned authority and return the payment. 

If it is a case of intentional payment by the former employer to bring back the employer, then the best remedy would be on the employee’s part to make it clear and straight to the former employer about his/her intention of re-joining that company.

Therefore,  the above situation ‘former employer accidentally paid me’ is a situation of the test of the morals and principles of the individual. It is a test of the ethics that a person holds a test of the values of integrity, objectivity, fairness, transparency, and honesty that a person has.


Thus, accidents on roads or in the bank account, or in the payment system are prone to exist. However, it is the response of the former employee that matters the most and he/she can mitigate and reduce it. Thus, if your former employer accidentally pays you instead of just thinking acting on the above-discussed solution can guide you in solving your dilemma.

Former Employer Accidentally Paid Me

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to top