The amount of money in your paycheck is a very important number. It’s your rate of pay for the hours you’ve worked. It’s your legal compensation for the role you are contractually pledged to fulfill. But when that number is wrong, your employer is in violation of fair labor law and your employment contract.

The good news is that payroll mistakes are usually just that: mistakes. Once the issue is pointed out, the problem should be fixed quickly (with backpay correction) and your future paychecks should be sorted out. However, not all companies are configured to resolve payroll problems. It’s important to know who to talk to if your paycheck is incorrect – and who to go to next if your first choice is unhelpful or even hostile in response.

Correct pay is legally enforceable and incorrect payroll can bring disastrous consequences onto a company if their negligence or fraud is revealed. No matter what resistance you may run into, someone in the company will have to recognize the legal gravity of a paycheck error and they will help set your pay right.

Here’s who to talk to in order:


Your Boss, Manager, or Supervisor

Start with your direct supervisor. Take a copy of your last paycheck to your boss, manager, or supervisor and mention that the numbers seem wrong. Have the numbers already written out along with a printout of your hours and a copy of your employment contract on-hand in case your boss wants to double-check your math.

A good manager will forward your issue to HR immediately for a payroll connection. But if your boss is unhelpful or hostile in response to the payroll question, take your issue directly to HR next.


Your HR Director or Representative

Find the HR team member assigned to your department, team, or contract designation. In a small company, there may  be only one HR person – or an outsourced service. In a large company, you may have an HR rep who handles employees in your category. Find your HR rep and ask them about your incorrect paycheck.

Your HR representative should immediately take on the issue and let you know when payroll will be sorted out. In some departments, they may send you along to someone specifically assigned to payroll management.


The Head of Payroll

If your HR contact was elusive or of no help, find whoever handles your company’s payroll. This might be an internal HR professional, a bookkeeper, or an outsourced payroll service. Find someone you can talk to in-person or on the phone and explain that your paycheck is incorrect. Financial professionals who deal directly with payroll are more likely to take this issue very seriously (there are legal implications) and they will help you get your payroll issue straightened out post-haste. With backpay.


Your Team or Department Leader

If you can’t find your payroll provider or can’t get in touch, it’s time to go up the chain. Go to your department head, team leader, or business owner depending on the size of your organization. Find someone in a position of responsibility over your team that is above your supervisor and ask them about correcting your paycheck discrepancy. 


Your Employment Lawyer

If no one in the company is willing or able to correct your payroll error – or if you are faced with discouraging hostility – then it’s time to talk to a lawyer. An employment lawyer can bring the force of fair labor and financial regulations down on any company who does not attend to their duties to provide fair pay. 

Here at Aiman-Smith and Marcy, we are dedicated to defending employees from both negligence and abuse at the hands of employers. Whether your paycheck is incorrect due to an error, a discriminatory decision, or incompetent bookkeeping, we’ll help you get fair pay for the hours you’ve worked. Contact us today for your initial consultation.