December 2, 2022

Oregon Nurses Accuse Providence of "Wage Theft," Ask DA to Investigate

Oregon Nurses Accuse Providence of "Wage Theft," Ask DA to Investigate

Multnomah County District Attorney Mike Schmidt has been asked to investigate Providence healthcare system after several nurses claim “wage theft”. The Oregon Nurses Association (ONA) has partnered with the DA to file a grievance and a class action lawsuit against ten Providence hospitals throughout the state of Oregon. 

On November 28th, ONA General Counsel wrote a letter to the DA stating, “Providence has systematically, and seemingly with intent to avoid payment for services, underpaid nonsalaried healthcare workers since at least July 8, 2022.  These events occurred when Providence adopted a new Genesis HR Solutions payroll platform. The new Genesis payroll system failure led to lost pay and benefits for healthcare workers in Multnomah County and across the country. Many front-line healthcare workers in Multnomah County have not received appropriate differentials or overtime payments from Providence. It has been reported to ONA that some workers have not been paid for the hours they worked, and some have missed entire paychecks."

The full letter can be seen here

Kevin Mealy, spokesperson for the ONA, said, “Providence isn’t going to alert you that they’ve given you less money than they should’ve, so that already puts a burden on a nurse who’s coming off a 12-plus hour shift in the ER, to go through their paycheck with a fine tooth comb.”

According to the Oregon Nurses Association, thousands of hourly paid workers at Providence were “systematically underpayed” by what they call a “faulty payroll system” that caused lost hours and benefits. According to allegations, some employees didn’t receive a paycheck after working required hours. The ONA claims that workers filed thousands of payroll tickets only to have them closed but the employees were underpaid again. 

Providence released the following statement in response to the allegations, 

Ensuring timely accurate pay is one of Providence’s most important responsibilities as an employer, and we are deeply sorry to those affected by recent paycheck discrepancies.

While the vast majority of issues have been resolved and retroactive pay has been provided, Providence ministries recognize that some errors are continuing to occur, and remain acutely aware of the hardship this creates for caregivers and their families.

"To mitigate financial impacts and to ensure caregivers remain whole, we implemented a “fast pay” program in September to provide missed pay within 24 hours of a paycheck issue being identified."

Providence’s Oregon ministries are currently reviewing the concerns raised in the letter from the ONA to the Multnomah County District Attorney’s Office. We can say this is categorically not “theft” or intentional “systematic underpayment” of caregivers, as ONA alleges.

Rather, it is a case of complex pay structures across the Providence family of organizations, as well as the growing pains of implementing a new technology platform to support administrative functions and services.

Ultimately, the new system, Genesis, will make it easier for caregivers to get information and manage changes from any device at any time. Until then, we remain absolutely committed to addressing issues to ensure caregivers receive correct and timely pay. We remain deeply grateful to all our caregivers for all they do on behalf of our communities and the patients we serve.

Providence is a 52-hospital system based out of Renton, Washington. Providence provides healthcare services in Alaska, California, Montana, New Mexico, Oregon, Texas and Washington. The ONA represents roughly 4,000 registered nurses who work at 10 Providence hospitals and facilities in Oregon. contacted Providence for comment and will update this article once a statement is available. 

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