PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — A newly proposed class action lawsuit claims thousands of state employees are experiencing payroll issues after the State of Oregon switched to a new system two months ago.

KOIN 6 News has received several emails from workers with the State of Oregon who say they’ve been affected by a new local payroll system Some have been overpaid and now have to pay that money back and others have not received a paycheck at all. And while the issues seem to vary, everyone that KOIN 6 spoke with Wednesday says this system switch has been a total disaster.

“We’re talking about 1,800 people who have been affected by this. It’s a nightmare,” said state employee Amaya Taina.

The complaint filed last Monday claims “since implementing a new payroll system on Dec. 1, 2022, the State of Oregon has incorrectly paid thousands of its employees.”

The suit goes on to claim the discrepancies have been ongoing and asks for a court order that would require the state to “fix its payroll system so that it accurately pays its employees, to suspend unauthorized deductions from wages, to re-report wages to the Oregon Public Employees Retirement System, and to conduct an accounting of wages to ensure its employees have been accurately and fully compensated.”

“It’s been horrible. I’ve spoken to people who don’t know what to do because they can’t pay their bills,” said Andrea Kennedy-Smith, a paralegal with the Oregon Department of Human Services.

Kennedy-Smith represents thousands of state employees working with the DHS and OHA. She says beyond having her retirement and saving plans impacted by the system switch, she’s heard from hundreds of employees with varying payroll issues, ranging from late and missing payments, to inaccurate accruals for paid time off and deductions.

“We have many employees that have not received paychecks for January or February. We have people who have been underpaid by thousands of dollars, who are unable to make their mortgage payments, their daycare payments, their car payments,” she said.

Taina says after a wrongful $2,000 deduction on her last pay stub, she’s been forced to live off $800 for the rest of the month.

“I don’t have enough money to even make it to work. I don’t have enough money to pay my bills. I have to have money to pay my cell phone bill so I can have doctor’s appointments because I have a medical condition where I have to constantly be with doctors several times a week. I don’t have enough money for food,” she said.

While union reps say they are partnering together to file a grievance on behalf of the nearly 2,000 impacted members, with current payroll issues allegedly ongoing, KOIN 6 asked the employees what they’d like to see from the state moving forward.

“I just want accountability held and for something better to be done about it,” Taina said.

“Our employees need to be paid on time. I think anyone who has accrued late fees or overdraft fees with their banks should all be reimbursed. I also feel that we need our day in court,” Kennedy-Smith added.