More than 1,000 District of Columbia employes who have their paychecks mailed directly to their banks were not paid on time last week because the D.C. government did not put enough postage on the envelopes.

City Administrator Elijah B. Rogers said yesterday the checks were returned by the post office, and eventually were again sent out with the right postage.

In the meantime, some employes unknowingly wrote bad checks, thinking the paychecks had arrived at their banks on time, Rogers said. He said the city has contacted the banks to absolve the employes of bad check charges.

Rogers said the paychecks sent to the bank accounts of "something over 1,000 employes" were sent out as scheduled on Friday, March 14, and Monday, March 17, but were returned by the post office.

The paychecks were supposed to arrive at the employes' banks by last Tuesday, which was a payday for city workers.

"Apparently the checks went out with 15 cents postage instead of 28 cents," Rogers said.

For first class mail, the post office charges 15 cents for letters weighing up to one ounce, and 28 cents for letters weighing more than one ounce but less than two ounces.

Officials said the city sends to each bank a listing of account numbers and paycheck amounts -- which then are credited to the accounts of the individual single-envelope checks, which would require only the 15-cent postage.

Rogers said the mistake was made by the treasurer's office, which mails the material.

Some employes apparently were not aware that the checks had not arrived at their banks. Acting D.C. Treasurer Maureen Plummer said Monday that her office had received only "around 15" calls from employes wanting to know where their money was.

Rogers said the material was remailed as soon as it came back. "We hand-delivered them to the post office," he said.

"We've called each bank and received assurances that the employes will not have to pay [bad] check charges," Rogers said.