S5208A Gallivan/A6771A Morelle

The New York State AFL-CIO, representing 2.5 million union workers and their families, as well as our retirees and their families opposes the above referenced legislation.

This bill would codify the use of debit cards as a mechanism of payroll. This bill has the potential to allow for the exploitation of workers’ and does not include strong enough protections to ensure that worker’s pay is protected. Further, this bill would implement weaker protections than has already been proposed through regulation and legislation by the Department of Labor (DOL) and the Attorney General.  

Just last year DOL proposed and implemented regulations that protect the pay, privacy and access to pay for workers whose employers offer payroll debit cards. The protections afforded to workers are clear and fair in setting forth the conditions that employers must meet. Among these are adequate notification of rights and terms of use for workers and strong protections to ensure the employee authorization is required and free from the threat of disciplinary action. The regulations also prohibit the charging of excessive fees by employers or the payroll vendors they contract with and ensure that workers have geographic access to machines or banks to use their card without charge. These protections were met with universal support from the labor movement.

Those regulations are now the subject of litigation and no law that would change those protections should be passed until that litigation has been resolved, especially considering that this bill would weaken the worker protections. An employee’s paycheck is their property and per federal law employees are entitled to free and clear access to their pay. The use of debit cards would change the ability of employees to access their paycheck, as well as potentially create charges and fees for employees to access their pay.  

On behalf, of the NYS AFL-CIO strongly urges the legislature to reject this bill.

For further information, contact the Legislative Department at 518-436-8516.