National Grid settles with NY, Mass. over unpaid wages post-Sandy

Thu Sep 26, 2013 1:16pm EDT

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(Reuters) - National Grid Plc will pay more than $6.3 million to compensate employees in New York and Massachusetts who were not properly paid in the weeks after Hurricane Sandy because of problems with a new computerized payroll system.

The utility will pay $750 to each of the more than 8,500 hourly workers affected by glitches after National Grid launched the new system in November 2012, soon after Sandy had struck the U.S. Eastern Seaboard in late October.

Regulators said the problems kept workers from receiving timely payment of some or all wages, including overtime, making it harder for many to pay for repairs and other necessities.

The $750 payments are in addition to the payment of previously unpaid wages, which has largely taken place.

Thursday's settlement was announced by New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley.

National Grid will also pay a $270,000 penalty to Massachusetts. Coakley said the accord also resolves actions by the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers; the United Steelworkers, AFL-CIO; and the Utility Workers Union of America.

Jackie Barry, a National Grid spokeswoman, said the company is pleased to settle. "We have made significant progress in resolving the payroll issues that have been affecting our employees, and regret the inconvenience and frustration that these issues have caused."

National Grid said it employs about 17,000 people in the United States. The company is based in London.

(Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York; editing by Matthew Lewis)

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