For the second time since Nov. 11, Northeast Georgia Health System paid its 10,000-plus employees late on a Friday.
Sean Couch, a spokesperson with the hospital, said a late payment on Dec. 23 was due to a lapse in communication between a third party payroll processing company and various banks and credit unions.
Some employees went 18-20 hours without getting paid.
“ADP is the group that actually contacts all of the banks, credit unions and sends them the necessary files to process the payroll,” Couch said. “Essentially, there was an issue on (ADP’s) end where they hadn’t communicated with all those banks and credit unions, so as we started hearing back from employees on Friday…we reached out to ADP. ADP caught the glitch and started working fast and furious Friday afternoon.”
While most employees who bank with larger institutions experienced a delay of just a few hours, according to Couch, “a handful” of employees didn't see a paycheck until the following day.
Couch did not provide a specific number of employees who waited until Saturday to receive a paycheck.
“...there were a handful of smaller institutions that were not going to be able to process it until Saturday,” Couch said. “We sent an email out to all of our employees on Friday that explained the issue – total transparency around what had happened – and let them know that if anybody had any hardships…NGHS would reimburse them.”
Amid the delay, Couch said NGHS offered employees burdened by the error a Visa gift card in the amount they’d need to survive through the weekend. NGHS also pledged to cover overdraft fees that may have been incurred after paychecks weren’t processed as expected.
“We did offer that,” Couch said. “Thankfully, we had zero folks that took us up on (the gift cards) – which we took as a good sign that most of the payroll got processed as intended.”
NGHS, one of the largest employers in Hall County, transitioned its payroll services to ADP Oct. 1. The hospital had a similar problem with the service on Nov. 11, when paychecks to employees were also delayed due to “a communication issue.”
Couch maintained that the transition to the third party company was necessary for an organization like NGHS, though he didn’t specify whether that could be due to reasons of efficiency or cost-cutting purposes.
“There was a processing delay on Nov. 11…which was also caused by a communication issue between ADP and banks and credit unions,” Couch said. “...engaging a national, third-party processing vendor is typically considered best practice for large organizations like NGHS.”
Couch went on to say that NGHS has moved to take action following the incident, specifically to ensure the error won’t be repeated in the future.
In addition to undergoing “an evaluation” to determine whether NGHS will continue to retain ADP for payroll services, Couch stated the hospital is also in contact with upper levels of ADP’s leadership to further discuss the issue.
“We escalated the issue to ADP’s senior leadership team Friday, and we’ve asked what assurances they can provide that this will not happen again,” he said. “NGHS leadership plans to use ADP’s response to evaluate whether we will continue to work with a third-party processor or bring that responsibility back to our internal team.”