FL: Local health care workers fed up with payroll delays triggered by ransomware attack

3 local hospitals impacted by Kronos Private Cloud ransomware attack

The I-TEAM has received calls and emails from health care workers who said they are frustrated that they are getting no answers from Human Resources and their bosses about when they will be paid in full for their work during the holidays.

On Dec. 11, Kronos Private Cloud, an HR management company that offers payment tools, including a service that tracks employee hours, was the victim of a ransomware attack. Three local hospitals were impacted — UF Health, Baptist Health and Ascension St. Vincent’s. All three hospital systems tell us they have had to create alternate systems to track employee work hours.

Several employees with UF Health Jacksonville tell the I-TEAM they do not understand why the hospital is not doing more to correct payroll mistakes and to pay them for extra hours, like overtime, shift differentials, incentive pay and COVID-19 pay. They are concerned about their jobs and did not want to be publicly identified.

One employee said they are “owed well over $1,000 in incentive pay for working overtime and during the holidays” and said the hospital’s fix, which is to have employees manually fill out timesheets, is not working. Their paycheck is still wrong, they told the I-TEAM.

Another employee said when the paycheck problems are reported to their boss, their boss does not respond and has told them they are not allowed to take pictures of the timesheets. The employee said a picture is their only personal record of what they are owed.

Another frustrated worker said they work at UF Health part-time and logged more than double the normal hours last month, but the employee has not been paid for the extra hours. When the employee reached out to Human Resources and upper management at the hospital, the worker said they were told corrections cannot be made until Kronos is up and running again. They said the hospital has not given them any timeline.

All of the employees with whom we spoke said they are already overwhelmed working during the pandemic at the hospital and feel like no one is answering their questions and concerns or providing any sense of urgency to get them the money that they earned. Some of them worked Christmas Day away from their families and have not been compensated for the extra pay they receive working a holiday.

UF Health Jacksonville declined the I-TEAM’s request for an interview, but media relations manager Dan Leveton sent an email in response to our request, “…the hospital is keeping track of all hours worked and is paying employees for all overtime, shift differentials etc. as soon as possible. There might be delays in some of it, other than base pay, which the organization made sure to take care of immediately after the hack because timesheets are being done manually right now. But every employee is being paid at least base pay right now, and will be paid for all hours worked. We’ve communicated that to staff throughout the Kronos outage so they should be aware and we will continue to do so moving forward.”

The I-TEAM contacted Kronos asking what it is doing to get the payroll system back up. A spokesperson with UKG, the company that operates Kronos Private Cloud, send us this statement:

“UKG recently became aware of a ransomware incident that has disrupted the Kronos Private Cloud, which houses solutions used by a limited number of our customers. We took immediate action to investigate and mitigate the issue, have alerted our affected customers and informed the authorities, and are working with leading cybersecurity experts. We recognize the seriousness of the issue and have mobilized all available resources to support our customers and are working diligently to restore the affected services.”

The spokesperson also explained that from Jan. 3-7, UKG is starting phase one to check if any of its customers have any malware in their systems, which could take several days. The next phase will be restoring service completely. The speed that happens depends on the hospitals’ systems, but UF Health and other Kronos customers should be notified about a restoration timeline this week. You can track updates from Kronos about the ransomware attack by clicking here.

The I-TEAM checked with other hospitals in our area. Baptist Health and Ascension St. Vincent’s have also been impacted by the ransomware attack. Baptist Health executive director Cindy Hamilton said that the hospital can write its employees a check if they are owed a substantial amount of money due to an error caused by the ransomware attack.

She sent the I-TEAM this statement:

“As Kronos continues to work toward system restoration, Baptist Health payroll and IT teams have worked together to enable alternate systems for tracking time and processing payroll as scheduled. Our team members continue to be paid on time, using a combination of scheduled work hours and average pay based on prior pay cycles. A manual check for additional hours worked can be cut upon team member and manager request. All pay will be fully “trued-up” once the Kronos system is restored.”

Ascension St. Vincent’s sent us this statement about the ransomware attack:

“Like many companies, we have been impacted by the ransomware attack on Kronos. While Kronos is working to address system issues, we have put in place alternate systems to track time and process payroll as scheduled.”

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