Final Paychecks Trickling Out to Recipients

We have received several emails today from Heller staffers stating that they received, via US Mail, their final paycheck today.   All have said that the check did not include accrued vacation or any WARN Act monies – just the one week’s wages held in arrears.

The fact that such paychecks were to be given to all terminated employees upon their departure and the one week delay does not absolve them from this transgression. 

We are assuming the same will hold true for those terminated today – that they will receive their checks late next week.  We hope.

When I get my check I intend to run and cash it.

Over and out,

Heller Drone
Cruise Director


35 Responses to “Final Paychecks Trickling Out to Recipients”

  1. 1 wejustwantwhatweearned 17 October 2008 at 11:42 pm

    Just wanted you to know my husband, a very important,former staff member, did receive his final weeks paycheck today. It did not include his vacation balance. Now is the time for all to file wage complaints for your earned, accrued vacation time!!

    Good luck to all! I do know what you are feeling.

    And a huge thank you to Heller Drone for the information you are sharing with everyone.

  2. 2 BackRow 18 October 2008 at 4:24 am

    As opposed to an unimportant former staff member? We’re in the same boat — everyone is important.

  3. 3 hellerdrone 18 October 2008 at 6:22 am

    Thanks for the feedback. Yes every former staff member is important but I get wejustwantwhatweearned’s point: in times of crisis like this, you start to wonder whether certain people would get their checks first or as a priority over other people. Or that certain people would receive preferred treatment and perhaps get their vacation while others would not. I’m done with trying to guess what HR at Heller is going to do – completely confounded most of the time.

    We are all in the same boat – and I get the feeling that boat is going to make some progress next week.

    Heller Drone
    Cruise Director

  4. 4 Senior Associate 18 October 2008 at 9:26 am

    I’m a senior associate whose last day was yesterday. I did not receive a final paycheck, despite a lengthy written explanation to the delusional committee about why it was due and how many laws they were breaking by not doing it. I don’t know of anyone who did receive a check yesterday. I guess the good news is that due to waiting time penalties, we’re all still getting paid.

    I’m a long-time reader, first-time poster. Now, more than ever, we should thank Heller Drone for this forum (whether we agree with what s/he has to say) as a means to stay connected and informed.

  5. 5 Anon2 18 October 2008 at 4:17 pm

    Heller Drone, you rock!! Everyone thanks you for your dedication to us! If only you were in charge of the S.S. Heller we may not have sunk!

  6. 6 Mr. Jones 19 October 2008 at 12:28 pm

    Got mine yesterday – it looked very sad and pathetic with only one week’s pay. I’m not used to seeing only 3 digits to the left of the decimal.

  7. 7 lindy 19 October 2008 at 7:02 pm

    Does anyone have a copy of the 401 K Plan.  I heard from a former employee that “partnerships” can use the Plan as collateral for loans!!!  I want to know if this is correct and what Heller’s plan states.

  8. 8 Southern Rings 20 October 2008 at 12:03 am

    Heller Drone — First, thanks for this service. Second, I thought that this was not a forum to bad mouth coworkers. If so, why all the negativity directed to HR. They are Hellerites, just like us. Plus, the ones that I saw last week were working their b*tts off. (And no, I didn’t work in HR.)

  9. 9 Observer 20 October 2008 at 4:24 am

    Lindy, no — a partnership cannot use employees’ 401(k) plan as collatral for loans. Under federal law, a 401(k) account is held in trust for the employee. The plan terms cannot change this.
    I’m not sure if I have a copy of the Plan or not. Have to check into that. It used to be available on the intranet. (It is not at the Vanguard web site.) If I find I do have a copy, I’ll send it along to HD.

  10. 10 hellerdrone 20 October 2008 at 5:27 am

    Southern Rings

    Thanks – point taken on HR. While I can’t speak for everyone, my frustration peeks out at times – there has to be someone up the chain of command in HR who is willingly going along with violating state and federal laws here. The Dissolution Committee obviously knows the law and doesn’t care as does the lead HR person.

    Heller Drone
    Cruise Director

  11. 11 Anon West Coast 20 October 2008 at 10:14 am

    For what it’s worth, the HR rep who conducted my exit interview acknowledged that the firm was breaking the law by not providing a final paycheck and accrued vacation on my last day.

  12. 12 Mr. Jones 20 October 2008 at 1:50 pm

    You had exit interviews? It was just a stampede out the door for us in the first wave. Of course, you all in the second wave had an extra day’s notice. : )

  13. 13 Derner 20 October 2008 at 2:47 pm

    I’m sitting in the office at 801 Turk Street. I’m happy to report that I didn’t get mugged walking up Turk from Montgomery. Although there appears to be a fight in the making at the computer terminal across from me.

    This process is so confusing. I thought this was the Unemployment Insurance office. I thought I would be able to sit down and talk to a person face to face so I could ask questions before filing my claim, but there are only phones that dial directly to the people you need to talk to. The woman on the phone said there is no such office in San Francisco.

    Here’s my situation. I’m sure it’s pretty unique for Heller people, so I hope nobody else has to go through this.

    I was an independant contractor through all of 2007 and some of 2008, until I was hired by Heller.

    Turns out that as I was self employed, I’m not eligible for more than $129 per week of unemployment insurance, unless I wait until January 4th, 2009 to file a claim, at which point the claim will be worth the full amount. I guess all the extra taxes that self-employed people pay into the system don’t count towards unemployment insurance.

    So…I’m sitting here, completely numb and in shock all over again, wondering what I’m going to do next. Wondering how everything in my life fell apart in a matter of weeks. Trying to figure out what to do with all of my stuff if I get evicted from my apartment. Trying not to worry about what I’m going to do when my insurance ends in a dozen days?
    Trying, all over again, not to feel anger towards the attorneys who left the firm in this situation just so that they could make a little more money per hour.

    Oh well, I’ll get over it. It’s just another setback in a series of setbacks. That which doesn’t kill us makes us stronger. Of course, without health insurance…

  14. 14 Prior Employee 20 October 2008 at 3:40 pm

    Does anyone know if we will be responsible for the dissolution fees in our 401K plans as stated in the letter I received from Heller in a Vanguard envelope.

  15. 15 Observer 20 October 2008 at 10:22 pm

    Prior Employee, I haven’t seen the letter that you mentioned. I believe it is correct, though, that the plan participants can be charged a pro rata share of the administrative fees at Vanguard for closing down the 401(k) plan. That is consistent with applicable ERISA law.

  16. 16 Prior Employee 21 October 2008 at 8:55 am

    I asked Carol Budinger how much would the fees be and she said “it should not be a substantial amount” whatever that really means.

  17. 17 Prior Employee 21 October 2008 at 8:56 am

    Observer, thank you for the information.

  18. 18 concerned 21 October 2008 at 9:31 am

    I received my Vanguard statement a few days ago. The deduction for fees was $265. That isn’t a small amount of money to me considering I’m now unemployed.

    Check your Vanguard statement carefully. If this is the average amount deducted and spread across the board (let’s just say 1000 people contributed to Vanguard through Heller x $265 = $265,000), then administrative fees were not paid for a substantial period of time, therfore jeopardizing our retirement.

    Just another RAPE.

  19. 19 Observer 21 October 2008 at 1:59 pm

    concerned, was that your statement through Sept. 30?
    That is the most recent statement I have received, and the fee deduction on that was $3.75.

  20. 20 Derner 21 October 2008 at 3:58 pm

    Considering that I managed to stash LESS THAN $200 in my Vanguard account before they tossed me onto the street, this is just another slap in the face. I now OWE more money for using my Vanguard account that I put into it!


    I can’t wait to find out what sort of excitement tomorrow holds for me!

  21. 21 dob 23 October 2008 at 2:21 am

    On what page of your statement do you find fees? I do not see any such line item on the statement through 9/30.

  22. 22 Pay me already! 24 October 2008 at 10:40 am

    Has anybody who left the firm last week (the 13th – 17th) received a final paycheck? I was hoping (but not expecting) that mine might be direct deposited today, but no such luck and nothing yet in the mail.

  23. 23 Another Heller Secretary 24 October 2008 at 2:18 pm

    No paycheck funds hit my checking account, either. Is ot too outrageous to hope that they had to prepare solid checks and put them in the mail today?

    My husband has been unemployed since March and we’ve about exhausted his savings already so, Derner, I can relate!

    Add that to coming down with a killer virus the day I was slated for a two job interviews and waning health insurance coverage and Heller Highwater becomes Sh!t Creek.

  24. 24 Another Heller Secretary 24 October 2008 at 2:19 pm

    Forgot to mention, my last day was Oct. 17. Seems important we mention that to keep track of who is where in this gang rape.

  25. 25 FedUp 24 October 2008 at 2:21 pm

    Regarding your paycheck…from ATL blogs:

    …spoke to Heller’s HR department today. Final-day checks (not including accrued vacation) were cut for all employees who were *terminated* on Friday, but not those who had earlier *resigned*. No penalty amounts are included in the checks for the terminated employees. The reason given was that the banks permitted payment to those fired but not to those who resigned.

    I have called Citibank, at which I am a private banking client, to express my fury at the actions which Citibank has taken, and to indicate that I am considering moving my business elsewhere (and encouraging others to do the same). I don’t know if that will accomplish anything, but it felt good to vent a bit. And maybe it’ll get passed up the chain.

    So, those of us who “resigned” are sh*t out of luck!

  26. 26 FedUp 24 October 2008 at 2:22 pm

    Oh yeah and another thing. Anyone else notice that wageworks funds were taken from the October 10th check but no passes/BART tickets have arrived?

  27. 27 Wannabepaid 24 October 2008 at 3:55 pm

    I was terminated Oct 17. I received my MUNI pass for November. I have not received my final paycheck. Has anyone who was terminated Oct 17 received their final paycheck yet?

  28. 28 Checks 24 October 2008 at 4:21 pm

    I believe all the checks for the people whose last day was Oct 10 were sent out via mail, no direct deposit. My last day was Oct 17 and I haven’t received anything thus far.

  29. 29 Heller Diaspora 24 October 2008 at 5:31 pm

    My last day was Oct. 10. I did receive a hardcopy final check on Monday, Oct. 19. It contained wages for just one week and did not include the accrued vacation payout. And it was not direct-deposited. Usually, employers do not use direct deposit for the final paycheck.

  30. 30 Fed Up 25 October 2008 at 10:21 am

    My last day was October 13th and I received my paycheck for the last week yesteday, October 24th. No vacation pay but, my OT was there.

    I also want to mention that the Mervyn’s employees are facing the same crises as we at Heller. According to the news this morning the employees will not be paid their accrued vacation until after the creditors are paid. So much for California employment laws.

    From now on I am taking vacation time rather than letting it build up. Lesson learned!

  31. 31 Observer 26 October 2008 at 4:29 pm

    Yes, take your vacation time as it is earned. Better for your life, your health — and your pocketbook.

    The labor laws mandate to pay accrued vacation time, other termination amounts, is good. But it is most effective against an ongoing business with fraudulent management. Less effective against a business that simply fails economically. And in a bankruptcy these kinds of claims are not paid immediately, they receive only a limited priority, and the remaining portions of the claims have no assurance that they will be paid in full (quickly, or ever).

  32. 32 Observer 27 October 2008 at 11:26 pm

    My last day was Oct. 17, and have still not seen any check for the final pay period.

    Others from Oct. 17 get theirs?

  33. 33 Former Associate 007 28 October 2008 at 6:05 pm

    Finally, received mine today. More taxes (Fed and state) taken out than usual and the cost of health care and dental was deducted. Oddly, the check reads that the pay period ended on Oct. 24, even though I was terminated on Oct. 17.

  34. 34 Anon2 28 October 2008 at 6:18 pm

    FCOL! I got my check too and you’re right – it says pay period ending 10/24 when it should say 10/17! Why are they trying to squeeze every penny from us?? The week ending 10/24 is the start of another pay period.

  35. 35 Former Associate 28 October 2008 at 11:41 pm

    I was terminated on October 17 and just now received my final paycheck. There are several irregularities.

    First, unlike all of my prior pay stubs, this one does not have a “Period Beginning” date. Rather, it just has a “Period Ending” date.

    Second, although my last day was 10/17/2008, the paycheck states that the Period Ending was 10/24/2008. In turn, the “Pay Date” is listed as 10/27/2008,” which leads one to the conclusion that they pushed back the Period Ending by a week to stay within the three-day statutory period.

    Third, although the Period Ending is a week after my actual termination date, I am not paid for the intervening week.

    Fourth, although the value of the check covers two weeks (ten business days, really), I recieved “Regular” pay for nine days and had one “Vacation” day recorded, even though I did not take a vacation day during that time. They correspondingly deducted 7.5 hours from my accrued Vacation Balance.

    Has anyone else seen something similar?

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