PA Superior Court Clarifies that Employers May Not Mandate Payroll CardsOn October 25, 2016 by Schnader in schnaderworks.com
It is helpful to have this clarification, even if perhaps this is not the news employers have been eagerly awaiting. On October 21, 2016, the Pennsylvania Superior Court weighed in on the issue of mandatory payroll cards. As we previously discussed here, the issue arose in the case of Siciliano v. Mueller. The case is a class action brought the employees of several McDonald’s restaurants operated by the Muellers. The employees claim that they were forced to receive their pay on paycards which charged fees for them to access their own money. (The payroll debit cards allowed only one free withdrawal per pay, and after that, they charged five dollars per withdrawal). The Pennsylvania Superior Court agreed with the lower court and found that mandatory payroll cards are not permitted under the Pennsylvania wage payment collection law.
The court focused on the non-voluntary nature of the cards and the fact the cards carried fees: “The use of a voluntary payroll debit card may be an appropriate method of wage payment. However, until our General Assembly provides otherwise, the plain language of the WPCL makes clear that the mandatory use of payroll debit cards at issue here, which may subject the user to fees, is not.” Siciliano v. Mueller¸No. 1321 MDA 2015, 2016 Pa. Super 229 (October 21, 2016). Therefore, employers of Pennsylvania employees should continue to follow our earlier guidance, to wit, procure employees’ advance written permission before paying them by debit card or direct deposit.