In the aftermath of a cyberattack on the outside payroll vendor for Scripps Health, employees, including several COVID Unit nurses, say they have not been immediately paid overtime and bonus money they’ve accrued during the most recent surge.
“I feel undervalued and under-appreciated. I go to work and I watch people die every day,” said a nurse, whose identity NBC 7 agreed to protect.
Kronos, the third-party vendor Scripps Health uses for payroll services, was the victim of a ransomware attack and had been down worldwide since early December, according to the hospital.
The payroll system came back online Monday, according to a Scripps spokesperson, but many employees are still reeling from the effects of the hack.
Get San Diego local news, weather forecasts, sports and lifestyle stories to your inbox. Sign up for NBC San Diego newsletters.
One nurse said she hasn’t been paid close to $5,000 in overtime and bonus pay since December. It’s taken a financial and emotional toll, especially since the money was expected to be in hand over the holidays.
“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,” the nurse said.
Scripps Health said it implemented "downtime procedures" during the Kronos outage. A spokesperson would not say specifically what downtime procedures entail, and would not answer specific questions asked by NBC 7.
But in a memo sent to all Scripps Health employees and obtained by NBC 7, the company said it would continue to pay workers the same amount of money they earned on their paychecks from Nov. 26.
“Our downtime procedure is to re-process the paycheck from a prior pay period,” the memo said.
But that means ensuing paychecks after Nov. 26 do not include any overtime or bonus money earned in December, and now January, according to the nurse.
The dispute comes as hospitals try to manage severe staff shortages brought on by the latest COVID surge. Health care systems are counting on nurses and staff to take on additional hours.
In the memo sent to employees, Scripps Health said employees will be paid as soon as administratively possible.
“Once Kronos access is restored and your actual timekeeping records from this pay period have been input into Kronos, the payroll team will perform an analysis to determine any underpayment/overpayment based on your actual timecard date from Kronos. If you are underpaid, we will process a separate check/direct deposit for underpayment as soon as administratively possible,” reads the memo.
On Monday, a Scripps Health spokesperson was hopeful employee pay concerns would soon be resolved now that Kronos is back online.
“Kronos came back up today, which is wonderful. Scripps is doing everything in its power to accurately calculate our employees’ compensation and will ensure they have been correctly paid for all hours worked as soon it is possible for us to do so,” said Janice Collins Senior Director, Public Relations, Social Media, Content Marketing for Scripps Health.
But employees are skeptical and have no way to know when they’ll be paid.
“With the lack of response and communications thus far, I don’t believe a whole lot they say. And at this point, I’ve lost a lot of trust and respect for corporate management of this issue,” said the nurse.
Meanwhile, at least one nurse says she has filed a claim with the California Labor Commissioner.
In an email exchange with the state Division of Labor Standards Enforcement, a representative said “state laws require that you be paid on the designated pay dates for all of the hours worked during the pay period. There is no exception when the timekeeping system is hacked,” reads the email.
“I would like to be paid first and foremost, but I want Scripps to be held accountable for not paying their employees. Plain and simple,” said the nurse taking action.