An ongoing service outage at HR vendor UKG that affected timekeeping and payroll software has some employers scrambling, and others viewing business continuity plans in a new light.
The company reported last week that a ransomware incident took several of its Kronos-branded services offline and that “it may take up to several weeks to restore system availability.” In a statement, UKG’s CEO recommended clients implement alternative business continuity protocols.
“It’s going to be a big deal for some companies,” Elizabeth Chilcoat, an associate at Sherman & Howard, told HR Dive. Employers must have a rapid response: “This is all hands on deck to identify what the problems are and solve them.”
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HR departments that typically rely on automation for the affected tasks may need to bring in temporary help, Chilcoat said; “It’s a horrible thing to happen this close to the end of the year when people are wanting to take time off [or] winding down a little bit.”
At the same time, the outage is “a sober reminder” of the importance of backup plans for automated HR functions, Kevin Jackson, an associate at Foley & Lardner LLP, wrote in a blog post for the firm.
The disruption involved Kronos scheduling, timekeeping and payroll products. It sent some employers scrambling to ensure employees are paid properly and on time, NPR reported — both for employee needs and for compliance with wage and hour laws.
New York’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority, for example, said in a statement that it was working with payroll and timekeeping experts to identify alternatives and ensure employees still receive their pay, The New York Post reported.
Others seemed to have a continuity plan ready to go: A Texas hospital told local media that it was activating existing procedures.
And then there are those focused on stop-gap fixes. The University of Utah, for example, told workers that while paychecks will be issued on schedule, “there may be adjustments at a later date to reflect corrections as needed,” perhaps an indication that it will opt for a route Jackson highlighted: calculating wages owed based on posted schedules, past payroll cycles or badge swipes, and adjusting payments as soon as the correct work hours can be determined.
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