Hospital employees upset about Ascension St. Vincent’s payroll issue response

Software hack cause employees to be overpaid, must pay back

Jacksonville-area hospital workers are sounding off as the News4JAX I-TEAM continues to investigate an issue that’s making them pay back some money from past paychecks.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Jacksonville-area hospital workers are sounding off as the News4JAX I-TEAM continues to investigate an issue that’s making them pay back some money from past paychecks.

Ascension St. Vincent’s is one of many hospital groups affected by the global hack of the Kronos software system. In November, hackers shut down the widely-used online business service.

It caused a number of issues with accounting, in which hospital administrators confirm they underpaid and overpaid some employees. Staff said this was due to an initial miscalculation while the software was down.

Now, the staff that were overpaid will have future paychecks garnished, the I-TEAM has confirmed.

RELATED: Ascension St. Vincent’s offers options for employees accidentally overpaid

However, many employees are claiming that initially their supervisors said they wouldn’t owe anything after the discrepancy.

“These are nurses, these are CNAs, these are lab techs that we’re all affected by this,” a registered nurse told News4JAX on a condition of anonymity.

The R.N. is one of many staff members from the hospital group asked to pay back money from their past paychecks.

“Also, we’re here at the end of the month,” he said. “People rely on that end of the month check to pay their rent, their mortgages.”

On Friday, the News4JAX I-TEAM confirmed with ASV administrators that the Kronos software hack caused accounting issues. Some employees were underpaid while others were overpaid.

Now, those who were paid too much have been told their next paychecks will be garnished until the balance is even. Initially, an email from ASV said they would have 50% of their paycheck garnished until the sum was paid.

Friday afternoon, after News4JAX started investigating, a representative said staff would have flexible options including the chance to give back PTO.

However, after the story aired and was published on, many more employees reached out, claiming that ASV wasn’t giving the full story. One surgical staff member shared a message from their supervisor which said: “if you’re paid too much, money will not be taken back from you.”

“Maybe we were naïve in believing this, but after the two years we have had, we thought this was their way of being appreciative that we stayed at all,” wrote the staff member who shared her supervisor’s message.

“Ascension said they were bringing in a team of accountants to go over all of this so there were not any issues like this,” said another employee. “Obviously this was a crock.”

“This is affecting our livelihood and we are losing trust in the administration,” another staffer added. “We just want the whole truth to be out.”

The I-TEAM immediately reached out to the hospital’s public relations manager to inform management about the employees’ complaints. Their names were kept anonymous.

“Thanks for reaching out,” the representative wrote. “We have nothing to add beyond our original statement. Thanks for the opportunity.”

He was referring to a statement the organization’s leadership sent to the I-TEAM on Friday.

It reads:

“Now that Kronos has recently restored access for its thousands of customers following the ransomware attack that impacted its timekeeping and scheduling system, we have been able to reconcile our associates’ payroll for the three pay periods impacted by the Kronos outage. Associates who were underpaid as a result of the Kronos outage were paid their underpayment amount on January 21, 2022. Associates who were overpaid as a result of the Kronos outage will be asked to repay the amount they were overpaid beginning in February through payroll deductions or, if the associate so chooses, application of paid time off accrued hours. We will provide flexibility on timing and method of repayment for all associates.”

Ascension administrators said they’re emailing those affecting by this issue individually.

About the Author:

Lifetime Jacksonville resident anchors the 8 and 9 a.m. weekday newscasts and is part of the News4Jax I-Team.