The Importance of Checking and Double Checking Checks

So I learned a thing or two last week about watching out for my pay. I did some freelance for Nick Jr. a couple of weeks ago, and got my pay check. I was examining it for the number of hours worked because I filled out the invoice by hand, and didn’t have a copy to compare to. As I was doing this I noticed that I paid medical and dental insurance. Now, my insurance was stopped November 21 of last year – but you know how HR is. But I had a feeling, and checked the two freelance checks from December and sure enough – insurance was deducted.

So I got on the phone and let the Production Manager know. He shook his head (I couldn’t see this obviously as we were on the phone, but I imagine he did) and said he would contact the payroll company to change my statue (which should have already been changed) and get me a refund. Unfortunately since tax info has already been sent out, he couldn’t do anything about last year. Oh well.

But then to satisfy my curiosity that HR is a winding labrynth of taking forever to make changes I took a look at one of Rob’s recent checks. In his severance package he got half with continued insurance coverage and half without. And sure enough in the checks after our coverage was discontinued insurance was still being deducted.

So I called our very helpful HR rep, who has to be tired of hearing from me. I guess this because she recognized me instantly – this is not a good sign in a company as big as MTV Networks. Anyhow she said she would contact the payroll and have them correct this – and also look into getting me a refund for my pay last December.

All in all – if we recover all of the over pay it is just over $200 – that’s quite a chunk of change to loose out on all because I’m usually not so vigilant about checking my pay stubs.

The other thing I learned is that you should always calculate hours by hand in addition to your excel formula on an invoice. Due to a minor formula error I was billing and getting approved for my Monday hours, but they weren’t showing up in the total pay. This I caught by complete chance, as I only worked two days last week for the job I invoice on, so it was glaringly obvious half the pay wasn’t calculated – but when it’s 20% or less of the total, it’s much easier to say my mental math was off than the formula. Luckily this only happened for two weeks, so it won’t be too much extra work for them to cross reference my last invoice amounts with what I was owed. From now on I ALWAYS add with a calculator in addition to the formula.

The moral is that due to careless mistakes and not checking stubs – I could have lost out on $475, that I will be reclaiming.

Know what your deductions are – and make sure that is all that is being taken out.
Double check your invoices.
Make sure your checks and invoices add up – if there are unapproved hours find out why (this one hasn’t happened to me yet)

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