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City workers hit by major payroll glitches in Helsinki, Vantaa

Some affected employees have not been paid since April.

Sofiankatu Helsingissä.
Some employees fear their credit scores will be impacted due to the ongoing payment chaos. Image: Juha Kivioja / Yle
Yle News

After a payroll system update, both the cities of Helsinki and neighbouring Vantaa have been dealing with severe glitches in paying employees, with some of the IT issues having persisted since April.

While the exact number of those affected is hard to estimate, the City of Helsinki's financial management department reported some 7,000 unread messages regarding payroll issues as of last Thursday.

"We adopted a new wage payment system in April and its implementation has involved many steps and issues that have led to this situation. The system is responsible for the wages of nearly 40,000 people and operations of this magnitude can not be entirely problem-free. There have, however, been more mistakes than we expected," head of the Financial Management at the City of Helsinki, Päivi Turpeinen, told Yle.

The implementation of the new system also coincided with a large municipal strike which further hampered payment processing.

"Horrible situation"

Various papers, including Helsingin Sanomat, Ilta-Sanomat and Iltalehti, have been following the story with some reporting that the mishaps included an employee accidentally receiving a monthly wage of 370,000 euros instead of 3,700 euros.

Meanwhile, according to reports, some unpaid workers have resorted to taking out high-interest payday loans and second-hand trading to cover daily expenses.

Turpeinen added that it is workers in the most active public sectors, including education and welfare, that have been hardest-hit by the salary backlog.

"This is indeed a horrible situation for individual employees and wage earners, and it should not be the case under any circumstances," she said.

Turpeinen apologised on the city's behalf for the delays, adding that the city is working to resolve the technical issues as fast as possible.

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