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Faster and Easier Pay Is A Necessity, Not a Trend

September 28, 2021

In order to be competitive in today's employment landscape, businesses must keep up with consumer demand and pay them more often.

In my role at Paychex, I am responsible for a variety of payment-focused products, from direct deposit (which includes Same-Day ACH and real-time payments) to wage garnishment to pay-on-demand and tip cards. It’s safe to say that I spend a fair amount of time focused on payments, so it’s a good thing that it’s an area that I’m passionate about.

Driving innovation and launching new products at Paychex requires me to be tuned in to the industry, which is constantly changing to meet demands of consumers. If you work in payroll or an adjacent HR role, you’re probably familiar with the conversation I find myself in a lot lately: how to expedite worker payments.

Expediting Worker Payments

Whether it’s a result of using Venmo, PayPal, Zelle, or some other app that allows individuals to pay each other or to be paid, consumers have gotten used to being compensated quickly and conveniently for services rendered. Freelancers, those working in the “gig economy,” and even hourly workers have already begun to expect similar convenience from their employers. Some enterprise companies, such as Walmart for example, have already launched large-scale, on-demand pay products and given their employees access to wages as they need them. Then there’s Uber, a company currently offering instant pay to their drivers, allowing workers to get paid up to five times daily.

Offering a Competitive Edge

What we are seeing now is a trend, in general, of employees demanding to get paid faster and more often. What does this mean for companies seeking to attract new talent? Well, in order to be competitive, businesses must keep up with consumer demand and pay them more often. This inevitably leads to an investment in technology, securing and managing an agile payroll process, or upgrading one that already exists.

Last year, in launching our award-winning real-time payments (RTP) solutions, Paychex became the first HR solutions provider to allow businesses to direct deposit pay to employees immediately. You can now move money instantly to pay your employees sooner, pay them more often, or pay them after hours or on weekends.

But, as I mentioned above, this industry moves like wildfire. In an increasingly competitive labor market, both employers and employees want payroll to process with the same convenience peer-to-peer apps provide. It’s not so simple, though.

Our customers are often torn between running payroll daily and offering an on-demand pay solution. With an on-demand pay solution, employers can keep their existing pay frequency but allow workers to access their pay as they need it. Usually this is done at no additional cost or cash flow interruption for the employer. (Although, there may be employee fees depending on the program.) Employees are usually able to access their funds for a fee or they can access them for free if they accept a debit card from a third party. Employees are then paid the remainder of their pay on the employer’s pay cycle.

However, many employers do not feel this is competitive enough and are looking to push pay to their employees on the day they work by running payroll daily. A hot topic, too, is how to distribute tips more quickly--at the end of a shift, for instance--as well as distribution of employee bonuses. These are all trends that we are watching closely. Employers aiming to stay competitive should be, as well.

Continued Innovation

Traditional ACH isn’t going away any time soon. However, the pace of innovation happening right now will not only lead to new technology and new products, but also create a push for new legislation. For instance, there is currently no law at a federal or a state level governing earned-wage access (on-demand pay). Additionally, banks are starting to see demand from customers to accept and make real-time payments, which will require better coordination between financial institutions and corporations.

This is an exciting time for money movement. I love that I get to be in the center of it all, working for a company that advances technology to meet the evolving needs of employers and employees alike.