Navigating your business through unexpected business disruption is difficult, but improved payroll can be part of the solution.

The typical business continuity plan outlines how to deal with floods, power outages and other common business disruptors, but few expected to manage something as severe as the coronavirus global health event. During the challenging times and even during business as usual, employers should consider how they can support their organization and staff to the fullest. Setting up payment flexibility could be an important and valuable lifeline.

Payroll and Employee Safety

As your organization focuses on workplace sanitation, social distancing rules and work-from-home policies, another key element is making sure employees can access their wages in a timely fashion.

"Many people still aren't buying supplies for just two days, they're buying for two weeks," says Anthony Peculic, Vice President of Operations for Wisely at ADP. "They need access to money sooner, especially those living paycheck to paycheck."

If employees or their family members are shut off from other sources of income such as restaurant work or declining retail employment, employees need easier access to their wages from your organization through payment flexibility.

Risks of Traditional Payroll Options

Given the need for fast payroll, traditional payment methods like paper checks are a poor fit for several reasons. First, employees need to wait to receive their checks in the mail or have to physically go pick them up at the job site. This might not have been a problem during normal times, but now it could mean they have to delay an urgent shopping trip for food or medicine.

Workers who have a bank account must make an extra trip to deposit or cash their checks, which risks exposure. It's even worse for unbanked employees. Businesses continue to be closed around the country, and that may include check cashing services. They need an easier, safer way to collect their wages, equivalent to your employees who receive direct deposit.

Payment Flexibility in Your Continuity Plan

If your organization has not considered setting up flexible payments through paycards, it would be a valuable addition to your business continuity plan — now and in the future. This payroll system would give unbanked and underbanked employees a way to receive their wages instantly through a debit card, which they can then use to shop online or at the grocery store.

Having access to cash is now becoming less important with many brick and mortar businesses closed or shifting away from cash (due to concerns around spread of germs). It's critical for your workers to have access to an account that has all the capabilities of a traditional bank account but also with low fees and financial wellness benefits such as early access to direct deposit, bill pay and popular contactless pay options.

Payroll services like ADP have partnered to offer early payment systems that allow workers to request part of their wages on their card ahead of the formal payday.

"Whether it's an emergency bill, a need to stock up on supplies or just having the convenience of being able to get an extra $100 early, there is high employee demand for early access to pay," says Peculic.

Getting Back to Work

Not only is payment flexibility an important addition to your disaster continuity plan, but it will also give you a powerful recruiting tool for the future. As the economy begins to reopen, workers across the country are deciding where to take their next jobs, and businesses will be competing to hire them. These workers will need money quickly to make up for any lost wages.

"Besides salary and benefits, speed of pay will be one of the top factors for workers in picking a new employer," says Peculic.

Navigating your business through the global health event is certainly challenging, but improved payroll can be part of the solution. By adding flexible payments to your continuity plan, you can keep your current workers safer and give yourself a hiring advantage for the coming recovery period.

Learn about Wisely® Pay Paycard.

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