I-TEAM: Ascension St. Vincent’s offers options for employees accidentally overpaid

Employees share concerns about garnished paychecks

A global software hack continues to cause problems for Jacksonville health care workers. Some are being told to pay back their employer.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A global software hack continues to cause problems for Jacksonville health care workers. Some say they’re being told to pay back their employer.

The News4JAX I-TEAM has been investigating how a software hack is affecting the ability to pay local workers. The I-TEAM previously reported how this impacted UF Health.

Now, details are emerging about the problems it’s causing Ascension St. Vincent’s. Staff members are worried their wages could be cut in half because they were previously overpaid during this mess.

The Kronos breach took down payroll and accounting for thousands of companies, including Ascension St. Vincent’s. Many employees reached out to the I-TEAM after receiving an email from hospital management.

“Yesterday at 2 p.m., during our busy fight against COVID, we got emails stating that either you owed money or you were underpaid,” said a registered nurse, who works for Ascension St. Vincent’s.

The health care worker asked for anonymity in telling their story.

They said Ascension St. Vincent’s sent the emails about payroll reconciliation the hospital group claims to have overpaid some employees and is trying to get that money back.

“And these amounts range from $100 to the highest I’ve heard of was $5,000 that they expect people to repay,” the nurse said. “And they only gave one option.”

The option? Garnishing wages. It means taking up to 50% out of future paychecks until the balance is even. While this nurse isn’t disputing the books should be even, they believe this sudden deduction is too much too soon.

“We’re here at the end of the month,” they said. “People rely on that end of the month check to pay their rent, their mortgages, and you’re telling us that you were going to start garnishing our checks within a week. He only gave us a week notice. You gave nobody time to get their affairs in order.”

The I-TEAM reached out to Ascension St. Vincent’s representatives after receiving similar complaints from other employees.

A representative responded in an email saying the company was changing course with more options for getting back overpaid wages. They’re adding more flexible options, according to a statement from spokesperson Kyle Sieg.

“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.”

In a follow-up email response to a question from the I-TEAM, Sieg said administrators would be reaching out to affected employees with more details.

Concerned employees said they hope for fair treatment during an already difficult time.

“We were already having staffing issues as it is and now this is just made it even worse,” the nurse noted. “We had a couple people not show up today.”

About the Author:

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