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Payroll Mistake? Send This Payroll Error Letter to Employees

Payroll Mistake? Send This Payroll Error Letter to EmployeesPayroll Mistake? Send This Payroll Error Letter to Employees
min read
August 21, 2023

Payroll errors happen, whether they're due to human error or payroll system glitches. Misclassified workers, incorrect payroll deductions, and more can cause employees not to get the pay slip they expect on payday. Taking the right steps to fix the situation can show employees you value them and are committed to correcting the oversight. 

In this article, you'll find a template and sample letter you can customize to let team members know about payroll errors and an action plan you can follow to address the mistake. 

Payroll Error Letter Template

Need that template right away? Here's a template you can use to let an employee know about a payroll mistake. Just click "Make a copy" to customize your own.

Payroll error letter template

Payroll Error Sample Letter

Or personalize a sample letter to let an employee know there's been a payroll issue. Just click "Make a copy" to customize your own.

Payroll error sample letter

How To Write a Letter to an Employee About a Payroll Error 

Sending these letters can be difficult. You might feel guilty about how payroll errors affect employees, even if you take steps right away to remedy them. Meanwhile, employees can feel frustrated once they hear this news—which isn't fun for anyone. 

So, how exactly do you write a payroll error letter?

Make sure to discuss the payroll mistake and offer a sincere apology. You'll want to include the following:

Using payroll software like Hourly can eliminate much of the human error that causes payroll mistakes, such as incorrect data entry or payroll calculations. Whether you're at your computer or on the go with your phone, you can automatically track and calculate your employees' hours, verify everything is correct, and run payroll–all in a matter of seconds.

How Do You Fix a Payroll Error?

Fixing a payroll error is a matter of correcting the payroll before or after it goes out. Here's what to do based on the scenario:

Scenario 1: Several people are affected, and checks haven't gone out

Cancel payroll if you can. Then fix the errors and run payroll again.

Scenario 2: Only one or a few people are affected, and checks haven't gone out

If it's not a large group, go ahead and follow your usual payroll process for that pay period and manually adjust the paychecks to show the correct amount.

Scenario 3: One or many people are affected, and they've received their checks (or paychecks are late)

If they haven't already approached you about it, you'll want to reach out to employees as soon as you're aware of the error. Below are some steps you can take. You'll want to follow up on your conversation with a written letter. 

Late paychecks can also really affect employee morale, so you'll want to be extra sure to take time to offer your sincere apology and explain how you'll remedy the situation. 

Keep Payroll Errors from Happening Again

Payroll errors aren't fun for anyone. It adds more work for your staff and can create a negative employee experience. You can easily avoid many common payroll errors by using payroll software like Hourly

If a paycheck error does happen, move quickly to fix it. That may mean running payroll again, making manual adjustments or cutting additional checks to employees. Be sure to follow up with a letter explaining the situation and solution if an employee is affected.

And remember, transparency goes a long way. So, be honest and offer your apologies—and make sure you answer any questions right away.

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