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Banks should pay their employees correctly, right?

by J. Money on Friday, January 2, 2009

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Guest Post: You all know i LOVE me some crazy money stories, so when a fellow blogger hit me up on the side i couldn’t resist but share! I’ll have to keep her nameless (you’ll soon see why) but it probably feels getting it all out in the open! Enjoy, and THANKS my dear blogger :)
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A few years ago I worked for a major bank. I spent my days convincing its customers to trust this bank with their money, all while I didn’t I trust them with mine. Why not? Because they got my paycheck wrong every single pay period for an entire year.

Everything was fine at first. I worked full time, got paid biweekly, no problems. Then I finally got the part time schedule I had been applying for, that is when things went horribly wrong. For some reason, part time folks get paid weekly, rather than biweekly. The first week went by, no check. I wasn’t too worried. I figured there was a little lag time. Then I got a check on the normal full time pay cycle, and it was a full check. Ok, must be some kind of retro action thing. Two weeks go by and then I get another full time check. I thought this was very strange. But I didn’t know to be concerned, I figured the next paycheck would be right for sure.

But it wasn’t. I was working part time but I kept getting paid for full time. It had taken me so long to figure out what was going on that now I was confused why no one else had caught on. What the heck was happening? I mean, I work for a bank for cyin’ out loud! They should be good with numbers.

I didn’t know what to do. So I didn’t do anything. But I’m not an idiot, I took the extra cash and stocked it away. I knew someone was going to come looking for this money someday.

One month was really over the top. I got my regular full time check like always, then a week later I got a part time check (my first ever), then a week after that I got another full time check. I went to my manager and explained what happened. I told him that I had received three checks in the month. I swear, he didn’t believe me. I had to get a calendar out and explain it like three times. He said he would talk to payroll, but I could tell he thought I was losing it. I never heard anything about it again.

I know this sounds awesome. I was working 30 hours and getting paid for 40. And in a way it was awesome, but it was also stressful. I was worried about what was going to happen when they figured it out. I knew I had done nothing wrong. I didn’t falsify my time sheets or anything. They were paying me wrong. It was their error, but still, I knew I hadn’t done everything I could to point out their mistake. And the longer it went on, the bigger deal it became.

Finally, 7 months after I started my part time schedule I get to work and there is a note from my manager to come see him before I started my shift. My heart sank. I knew exactly what he wanted to see me about. I walked into his office and he asked me if I’ve been getting paid for full time. Gulp! I didn’t try to hide it. I admitted that I had been. And then… he apologized to me! He apologized to me. I couldn’t believe it.

A week or two later he forwards me an email that payroll had sent him saying that I owed something like $600. Which stunned me. By my calculations I owed them about $3,600. They said I had til the end of the year to pay. No one ever contacted me directly, no one ever explained how they came up with that figure. And I had questions, was the $600 gross pay? If I have to pay it back with net pay, what about the taxes? What about my 401(k) contributions? None of those questions were ever answered. But I knew I owed the money. I knew I was getting out cheap. I was going to pay it back.

In the meantime my paychecks were a disaster. Every single mistake that could be made was made. They would pay me for the wrong amount of hours. They would forget my holiday pay. They would over pay me. They would under pay me. Once they spent $25 to overnight me a correction check due to an underpayment and they mistakenly took out my health insurance deductions, which made the check $0.00. They FedExed me a check for $0.00! Idiots! Every single week it was one thing or another. Me and the lady in payroll were on a first name basis.

Finally December rolled around and I called payroll to find out exactly how much I owed them and where to send it. But they had no record that I owed them any money. So I never sent anything.

Then the mistake of all mistakes. The one I almost quit over. I switched departments and went back to full time. I was hoping this would leave all my payroll problems behind me. I was getting a 5% raise to go to the new department, and I was going from 30 hours to 40 hours a week. I should have seen a huge increase in my check. But no. It was something like $13 more than usual. I freaked!

They had taken my annual salary and increased it by 5%, that’s it. No accounting for the fact that I was working 10 hours a week more. They should have increased my annual by 33% and then added the 5% raise. So I went from making something like $16.00 down to $12.00. And no one would believe me. Everyone had this attitude that I was trying to get something I didn’t deserve. Like I was trying to trick them. Even though I knew exactly what had happened I couldn’t get anyone to fix it. I was so frustrated. Finally I went back to my old manager who had figured the whole thing out in the first place and had him look at it. He knew my payroll history and would at least listen to me. He saw what I was saying and was able to fix it.

And then it was over. I worked there for another year and didn’t have a single payroll problem. It was that darn part time shift. They just couldn’t handle it.


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