On May 5, 2015, Governor Nathan Deal signed Senate Bill 88 (SB 88) into law making Georgia the twenty-third state to expressly address the use of payroll cards in its wage payment statutes. The bill, which amends section 34-7-2 of the Office Code of Georgia Annotated, became effective upon signing.
The new law allows employers to pay wages and salary by credit to a payroll card account so long as employees are provided with a written explanation of any fees associated with the account. This explanation must be provided at least thirty days before the employer first implements a payroll card program. Once the program is implemented, the written explanation of fees must be provided to employees at the time of hiring.
The employer is also required to give employees a form that they may use either to request payment by check or to designate and authorize an account for direct deposit. This “opt out” form must be provided simultaneously with the written explanation of fees and, thereafter, must be made generally available to employees.
The new statute is unusual in that it addresses the use of payroll cards on an “opt out” basis. Nothing prohibits employers from offering payroll cards as a voluntary option so long as employees are provided a written explanation of fees and a form that allows the employee to make a wage payment selection.
In addition to the recent revisions, section 34-7-2 has long required employers to pay employees the full amount of net wages due at least twice a month on designated paydays. These requirements apply regardless of the method used to pay wages. For this reason, payroll card programs must provide employees with a means of accessing their full net wages, in cash, each pay period without cost.
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