Editorial: Say farewell to the paper paycheck
The end of the paper paycheck is almost here. Senate Bill 100, sponsored by Sen. Jeb Bradley, would hasten the day when nostalgia buffs – and workers who don’t want their spouse to know about overtime pay or a bonus – shed a tear for the paycheck’s demise. The bill would eliminate the requirement that New Hampshire employers get employee permission to pay by direct deposit or with a payroll card that functions like a debit card.
Since the savings from eliminating paper paychecks for the small percentage of employees who still receive them is considerable, most employers can be expected to take advantage of the change. Only about 400 of the state government’s 11,000 or so employees, for example, still get paper checks. By one estimate, it costs as much as $10 per check to issue each one. That’s a waste of taxpayer money.
Bradley’s bill deserves to pass, but with two caveats:
The cards provide employees whose credit history makes it difficult to open a bank account (and thereby get paid by direct deposit) to be compensated conveniently without having to pay substantial fees to a bank or check-cashing service. But the fees charged by payroll card companies can cut into take-home pay. The bill should obligate employers to seek the lowest possible fees from card providers.
Workers who now receive paper checks should also be given more time to prepare to enter the age of electronic finance. Bradley’s bill would become effective 60 days after its passage. That’s not enough time to educate employees about the change and allow them to weigh direct deposit versus payroll card. Six months would be better. Either way, the paper paycheck is destined to disappear.