NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — One hundred and ten Metro Parks employees received a letter on Monday stating that a portion of their 2020 hazard pay bonuses needed to be paid back.
“The parks department mistakenly submitted the total hours worked by these employees rather than only the percentage of hours eligible for hazard pay,” Metro Finance Deputy Director Mary Jo Wiggins tells News 2.
Wiggins said certain duties of Metro Parks employees were deemed eligible for hazard pay between March 16 until November 30.
“As a result, different percentages of hours worked by various employees were approved for hazard pay,” Wiggins said.
Metro Parks employees tell News 2 those that received the hazard pay for working during COVID-19 were given in a lump sum to their paychecks just before Christmas. Those bonuses were between $3,000 to $4,000 for most employees, according to employees we spoke with.
“I know a bunch of them that’s struggling anyways and they gave that money right at Christmas time and most of them spent it. That money’s gone. So, for them to want them to pay it back that hurts them,” an employee told News 2.
Metro Parks employees we spoke with say it’s estimated that every two weeks around $200 will be deducted from their paychecks for the rest of the year in order to correct the overpayment. Wiggins told News 2 there is also an option to return the funds to the department in a lump sum.
“They should eat it. They should be fully responsible for their mistakes and they should eat every penny of it,” an employee told News 2.
Wiggins said of the 110 employees that received hazard pay, the overpayment totaled $267,000.
“We all deeply regret the error was made and realize that recouping the overpayments may cause a challenge for some of the affected employees,” Wiggins said. “Finance is currently working on determining the exact amount owed back by each employee and will offer the opportunity to repay the amounts over an extended period of time so as to lessen the impact it may cause.”