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Nursing home employees shocked when paychecks didn't arrive

Employees were shocked and upset when their Dec. 16 paychecks were replaced with a notice from the IRS. (Source KSWO) Employees were shocked and upset when their Dec. 16 paychecks were replaced with a notice from the IRS. (Source KSWO)

LAWTON, OK (KSWO) -The employees at Willow Park Health Care Center were blindsided when they didn't receive their Dec. 16 paycheck.

Instead or receiving their paycheck, they got a notice saying the IRS had frozen the payroll because of unpaid taxes by the nursing home's previous owners.

The company changed ownership on Dec. 1, so it was the previous owners’ responsibility to deliver their final paycheck to workers on Dec. 16. But when that didn't happen, the new ownership was left with the challenge of trying to somehow make things right with their employees.

One of those workers is simply upset because he's dreading the impact on his family's Christmas.

"When you have a 7-year-old child, it's not about you having money to buy gifts because they don't believe that we go out and we buy gifts. They believe Santa comes by and drops them off. How do you explain to your 7-year-old child that Santa didn't come," the employee asked?

The employee says how and if he will have to tell his three children Santa didn't come is constantly on his mind since they found out they are going home without a check.

"It’s not just us, I’m sure a lot of families were depending on that final check to go do their final Christmas shopping. We didn't have that opportunity simply because the first of the month you pay your bills, the next check you take care of your Christmas,” the employee said.

Despite not getting their paycheck, many employees continue to go to work.

"It’s pretty troubled right now. Besides stepping in and taking care of the patients, you never let your personal life come in between you and the care you have to give out. Everyone is worried, everyone is concerned, because nobody knows anything,” they employee said.

He says because there has been no communication, he is reluctant to believe anything will happen before Christmas.

"Any effort showed in this kind of situation is greatly appreciated," the employee said.

A company representative said they value their employees, and hope to have it resolved as soon as possible, possibly in time to save Christmas. The company issued the following statement:

"We are proud to be the new operators of this community, and are sorry that the previous owner has been having financial difficulties and was unable to meet payroll. As the new operators, we want to make things right and better for our employees, and are issuing employee bonus checks before Christmas." 

The employee said he hadn't heard that was a possibility, but said even if he gets his check Christmas Eve, he will be happy to put something under the tree for his kids.

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