The lawsuit alleges that by forcing employees to take the payroll cards, the franchisees were in violation of Pennsylvania labor laws, which require that “wages shall be paid in lawful money of the United States or check.”
The plaintiff and other employees who have been pushed into payroll card programs also say that the fees associated with these cards often chip away at their earnings, sometimes to the point where the employees effectively earn below minimum wage.
“Our employees have always been our No. 1 priority,” a representative for the franchisees, who had been using the cards for around 18 months, tells the AP about the policy change. “We didn’t hear any complaints. Many employees have been using these cards without complaint for many months. When it became apparent there were some employees who may want the choice, we’re going to give them the choice.”
The plaintiff tells the AP that she’s happy her former bosses have altered their policy, but since her repeated requests to have her pay direct-deposited into her credit union account were denied while she worked at McDonald’s, she believes this is all just “damage control… They’re trying to lessen the blow.”
She adds, “The law states already that they had to give people an option in the first place.”
Of course, the employees at these 16 McDonald’s are not the only ones in America getting their pay on prepaid debit cards. In addition to a growing number of employers looking to cut corners on their payroll costs, a number of states have begun issuing benefit payments via prepaid cards.