Guild angry at Reuters over pay snafu
The Newspaper Guild of New York, which represents business journalists at Reuters, sent the following letter to James Smith, the chief executive officer of Thomson Reuters:
Are your paychecks being processed correctly? Because ours aren’t.
Obviously, we want everyone – whether or not they are represented by the Guild – to be paid on time for the work they do. After all, that’s not just good business practice, it’s the law.
Lately, however, when it comes to processing our paychecks, Hewitt appears to fall into the payroll equivalent of a polar vortex. The system freezes, you can’t get a straight answer from the first-name-only person who answers the helpline, and complaint emails generate a swirl of ticket numbers that refer employees to other ticket numbers that refer back to the original ticket numbers.
Just last week, some Guild members were told that due to a “technical issue,” overtime and differentials will not be paid until the next pay period. This comes at a particularly difficult time for Reuters editorial staff. Following the departure of 30 of their colleagues at the end of last year under an enhanced buyout program, Guild members have been asked to work extra hours and days to maintain the level of coverage and expertise for which Reuters is known and to keep stories moving to subscribers in a timely and accurate fashion.
This latest example of payroll incompetence follows major errors in 2012 and 2013 when Guild-covered employees were either over- or underpaid by significant amounts, and were (again) not paid for approved overtime. Guild representatives also are reporting an increase in the number of individual payroll errors, particularly for overtime and time off.
The seemingly never-ending problems with payroll are affecting members’ pockets as well as morale. For those who volunteer to work weekends and stay late, not being paid in full is a disincentive to volunteer for extra hours. The end of January brings financial deadlines for many — not just mortgages but holiday bills, summer camp deposits and other costs that now must be covered from savings. In addition, pushing the missing pay to the next pay period may trigger a higher tax rate.
We’ve been told by a Reuters representative that payroll is reviewing how the error occurred but it is “very much a one-off problem” that is not expected to reoccur. While we sincerely hope this is the case, our experience with Hewitt does not inspire confidence.
Jim, with all the problems that outsourcing payroll to Hewitt is generating, is it really worth it?