As companies work to modernize their operations, many turn to outside services to handle their payroll and human resources functions. Some employers now pay their employees using payroll debit cards. These cards are issued to employees, and their wages are deposited onto the card on payday.
Payroll debit cards are often convenient for employers and employees, but there can be a downside. These cards may be subject to fees, which can significantly reduce an employee's earnings. Ultimately, an employee ends up paying to be paid. In some cases, fees can reduce a worker's income to less than the minimum wage.
As the use of payroll debit cards has increased, so have the abuses. The Iowa Attorney General's office is currently investigating a number of these abuse cases.
Many of those paid using payroll debit cards are low-wage workers who depend on every dollar they earn to provide for their families. They should not have to worry about losing their wages through unreasonable fees when they try to access their money.
In response to these concerns, the Senate is advancing legislation to outline simple protections for workers who are paid with debit cards. Senate Study Bill 3214 will:
Require an employee to consent to being paid by payroll debit card.
Require an employer to inform workers in writing of any fees that may arise from use of the card.
Allow an employee to withdraw all wages they are owed at least once per pay period without being charged a fee to access their money.
Allow an employee to choose to be paid in a different manner.
If you wish to file a complaint about payroll debit card abuse with the Attorney General's Consumer Protection Division, go to www.iowaattorneygeneral.gov/file_complaint.
If you believe an employer is violating wage laws with payroll debit cards, you can file a "claim for wages" with Iowa Workforce Development at www.iowaworkforce.org/labor/wage.htm.