Payroll system problems in the Providence St. multistate network. Joseph Health have affected health care workers in Providence, including some in Southern Oregon. [File photo of Providence Medford Medical Center]
New payroll system causing problems
More than 200 members of the Oregon Nurses Association have joined a class action lawsuit against Providence St. Joseph Health after losing pay due to a flawed new payroll system, the partnership announced this week.
Spanning seven states, Providence Health Network St. Joseph includes Providence Medford Medical Center in Medford.
Payroll issues have affected some caregivers in southern Oregon, said Julie Denney, a spokeswoman for Providence Medford Medical Center.
Providence is working to resolve the issues, and as of this week, less than 2 percent of Oregon caregivers continue to experience incorrect payment, Providence said in a statement.
The Oregon Nurses Association, a professional association and labor union, said it represents 15,000 health care workers in the state, including more than 4,000 who work at 10 Providence health facilities in Oregon.
The association accused Providence of wage theft.
“It would be a problem if this happened to a handful of workers. This is a total disaster,” Richard Botterill, a registered nurse at Providence Portland Medical Center and chairman of the ONA Executive Committee, said in a statement. “Providence is paying pennies on the dollar to frontline nurses and workers sanitary and maintaining the difference. This is a multi-million dollar company that cheats nurses and working families out of their livelihoods. Stealing from workers the money they depend on for food, rent and basic needs is unacceptable.”
In July, Providence switched to a new Genesis payroll system that systematically underpays nurses and other frontline health care workers, the ONA said.
The ONA said individual impacts range from nurses missing a few dollars to workers missing entire paychecks.
The ONA said it brought concerns about the change in Providence’s payroll system to management months ago. She said Providence assured nurses that the system had been thoroughly tested.
As workers began losing pay and filing grievances, Providence said the problems would be resolved quickly, but workers have now gone more than three full pay periods without a comprehensive resolution, the ONA said.
Providence said it is working to resolve the payment issues and is issuing new batches of checks daily with correct retroactive payment for affected employees.
“Providence apologizes to the caregivers and their families who have been affected by the recent pay issues. We take these issues incredibly seriously and work daily to identify and resolve reported issues,” the nonprofit said in a statement.
Providence said it implemented the new Genesis system to improve administrative processes, including payroll, timekeeping and human resources. Previously, multiple systems had been used, including some with outdated technology.
Providence said ONA’s “suggestions that Providence is ‘stealing workers’ and intentionally underpaying caregivers are completely and utterly false.”
“Once again, we deeply regret that some valued caregivers and their families have had to endure financial hardship, anxiety or disruption as a result of this transition,” Providence said. “As an employer, providing accurate and timely pay for caregivers’ time and talent is one of the most fundamental roles we play.”
The ONA said it wants Providence to conduct a comprehensive audit of all time card records since implementing the new payroll system and recover any lost payments and benefits, such as paid time off.
The ONA also wants Providence to pay overdraft fees, penalties for missed rent or mortgage payments, late credit card payment penalties and any other fees workers face due to improper payment.
Contact Mail Tribune reporter Vickie Aldous at 541-776-4486 or email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter @VickieAldous.
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