Frustrated COVID unit nurses with Scripps Health are finally starting to be paid for overtime and double-time hours they worked more than three months ago, during the peak of the Omicron surge. It will be close to another month, however, before they’re paid off in full for money they earned in December and January.
The delay stems from a ransomware attack on Kronos, the outside vendor that operates Scripps’ payroll system. The attack happened in early December.
“Once our Kronos timekeeping system was back online on Jan. 16, we began the process of entering the actual hours worked during the outage into Kronos and obtaining employee and manager approvals on all timecards,” reads a March 9 email sent to employees from Scripps Health human resources. "That effort has now concluded, and a thorough review of the hours worked during the outage has been completed."
According to the same email, owed money will be paid out over three paychecks, the last on April 11.
The delay has been a source of frustration for nurses like Laura Galan, who said she is owed $3,000.
“I’m so frustrated because I feel like we did everything for our community and the hospital is not responding,” said Galan, a nursing assistant at Scripps Health in Chula Vista.
NBC 7 also spoke to a nurse in January who said she was owed $5,000.
“We live in a current state of traumatic stress, so to not be paid and continue to fight this war, day in and day out, it is a slap in the face," said the nurse, who did not want to be identified.
After the December hack on the payroll system, Scripps Health activated what it calls "downtime procedures." In short, employees were paid the same amount of money earned on previous paychecks in November, but their checks did not include any overtime or bonus money earned in December and January, leaving nurses to wonder when they would receive their pay.
“I’m frustrated because, of course, everybody needs money, and I’m waiting for money to do things, and it’s three months already, so it’s so frustrating,” Galan said.
According to the Scripps Health email, the first payment of owed money was sent out March 14, with subsequent payments due on March 28 and April 11.
Although the issue of overtime and double-time pay has been resolved, nurses say they still have not been notified when they will be paid incentive money for working double-time shifts in the COVID unit. A Scripps Health representative, however, said the issue is being resolved.
“Worked shifts that meet criteria for documented staffing incentives are being assessed currently and slated to be paid in one of the payrolls by the end of April,” said Scripps spokeswoman Janice Collins.