Thursday, November 10, 2005

It’s always something...

I guess that’s the nature of the HP profession. Although in today’s case it involves payroll more than HR.

I told you about our employee who is under a court-ordered tax lien. He has little choice—he has to live “paycheck to paycheck.” But I have other employees who live that way routinely (by choice, I would say, but they’d claim necessity).

Our payroll is handled by direct deposit only. No paychecks at all—you have to have a bank account to work here. And we pay every other Friday (biweekly).

Today (Thursday before our Friday payday) our employee Jane — not her real name — called to tell me that since tomorrow is a bank holiday (Veterans Day), her bank told her that she wouldn’t have access to her payroll money until Monday, 11/14.

At this point I thought, “So? If the bank is closed you couldn’t get your money out anyway.”

It never occurred to me that she had already written checks against that deposit figuring that they wouldn’t clear until Friday, and by then her pay would be in her account. Plus, she had planned to access some of the money from an ATM machine so she’d have cash for the weekend.

She was fighting back tears as she explained how much the bank would charge her for overdrafts.

Just FYI, this is a woman who earns over $60,000 a year working just her regular schedule. In addition she works a lot of overtime. So we’re not talking a minimum wage/poverty case here.

We contacted our payroll service (ADP), but it was too late now to change the pay date from tomorrow to today. Then I called MY bank and asked them about their procedures on Friday holidays.

MY bank told me that if the “transmittal” (from ADP) was in their hands today, there would be a “memo posting” tonight and I would have access to my money (via ATM, or whatever) tomorrow as scheduled. I asked if they would check to see if the transmittal was there. It was! Further calls revealed that the transmittal is usually at the bank on the Wednesday before a Friday pay date, and ALWAYS there by the Thursday before.

I thought back and realized that we had never before had any issues with pay being delayed when pay day fell on a bank holiday.

I told Jane to call her bank back and verify her earlier information. She did. The bookkeeper at her bank insists that the payroll deposit is set up to credit her account on Monday the 14th. ADP, however, insists that the entire payroll run is set up to be paid on Friday, November 11. Nothing in the transmittal, according to ADP, mentions the 14th.

I suggested that Jane call her bookkeeper back again and ask if that 11/14 date was the result of an internal bank process, and could she fax us whatever she's looking at that says 11/14 on it so we can send it to ADP.

I don't know if she's done that or not. We left things this way: Jane will check via online banking tomorrow morning and see if her funds are in her account or not. So will I (check my account). We'll decide what, if anything, to do based on our results.


To me the whole thing should be a non-issue, because a little prior planning can prevent this last-second panic.

Well, that non-issue occupied the better part of an otherwise routine Thursday afternoon. I guess I should be grateful.

As I said, it’s always something.


kenju said...

I think that banks are out to get us with tiny loopholes that only they can understand.

Anonymous said...

My employer paid us on Thursday since Friday was a holiday. I was handed my paycheck stub on Thursday and my direct deposit was available to me first thing Thursday morning.

Duke_of_Earle said...


We could have easily done that if we'd thought about it. It's no trouble or extra expense to change the "pay date" through ADP, they only require a few days notice. We ivory tower folks never thought in advance about Friday being a bank holiday (hey, WE don't get Friday off!)


Although I often make fun of various "conspiracy theories" and even parody them sometimes on this blog, what you say about banks has the ring of truth.


EV said...

What a GREAT post. I'm with you on this - CONCEPT: "budget". Soon people will expect someone else to breathe for them.

Anonymous said...

We are also paid a day earlier if payday happens to be a holiday. But our banks are very jacked up here and they would never have made us wait until the Monday.

You are right .... SHE should have planned better though.

Have a great weekend John. I will be scrapping that card the weekend.