Payroll Cards: A Barrier to Fair Pay in New York

The New York Times published an excellent editorial yesterday — “Another Fight for Fair Pay in New York” — in support of NYS Department of Labor’s recent proposal to regulate payroll cards.

Payroll cards allow large employers to unfairly shift payroll costs onto low-wage workers, who end up paying all sorts of fees to access their wages.  New Economy Project has been organizing groups to address this emerging form of worker exploitation and to press for strong state and federal regulations. 

It’s important that groups submit comments in support of New York’s payroll cards proposal – before the July 31, 2015 deadline. You can find more information and a sample letter here.

The biggest beneficiaries of payroll cards are Wall Street banks and credit card companies that issue the cards and profit from high and hidden fees charged to workers. The Times’ editorial calls on NYS Governor Cuomo and DOL to stand firm in the face of industry pressure to weaken the rules, and to “curb or outlaw fees that, in effect, force employees to pay to get to their wages.” 

The Times’ concerns about the payroll card industry echo the concerns workers raised last year in a survey New Economy Project conducted with NYPIRG and the Retail Action Project.