Monday, May 21, 2018
Business

Companies' use of pay cards comes under scrutiny

NEW YORK — The New York Attorney General's Office is looking at more than 20 businesses for their use of ATM-type cards to pay some workers.

The office of Attorney General Eric Schneiderman says it sent letters to companies including Wendy's, Costco, Dollar Tree, Chipotle Mexican Grill, Home Depot, Darden Restaurants and Wal-Mart Stores.

The letters request documents related to the payroll card systems used by each business so that they can ensure the companies comply with laws aimed at protecting workers from fees for using the cards.

Schneiderman's office requested information such as fee schedules and documents showing that employees being paid with ATM-type cards gave advance written consent.

The issue came to national attention after employees of a McDonald's franchise in Pennsylvania sued over being forced to take their pay on such cards.

Many employers are trying to save on the expense of issuing paper checks by turning to direct deposit or payroll debit cards. Depending on the fees they charge, payroll cards can be beneficial for people without bank accounts. But opponents say cards with high fees mean that some workers are essentially making less than minimum wage.

Nearly 4 million U.S. households, or 3.2 percent, have someone receiving wages on a payroll card, according to a 2011 survey by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.

Orlando-based Darden, which runs restaurants such as Red Lobster and Olive Garden, said in a statement that it believes its policies comply with New York's regulations. The company said employees can opt to use a pay card but may choose a check or direct deposit instead.

Wal-Mart spokesman Randy Hargrove said that when the retailer launched its payroll card nationwide in 2009, it met with the New York State Department of Labor and shared full details of the program. He said there were no issues at the time.

Hargrove said Wal-Mart also offers workers the option of pay card, direct deposit or being paid by check.

Home Depot doesn't offer payroll cards as an option in New York, spokeswoman Paula Drake said. In states where it lets employees choose to be paid via payroll card, only "a small percentage" opt for it. Those who do are informed of fees, Drake said.

Comments
Shoppers begin Publix boycott as chain continues supporting Adam Putnam for governor

Shoppers begin Publix boycott as chain continues supporting Adam Putnam for governor

Publix has been Floridaís favorite grocery chain for decades ó but some shoppers are turning their backs on the store after learning it donated more than half a million dollars to gubernatorial candidate Adam Putnam. A handful of state advocacy group...
Updated: 2 hours ago
GasBuddy predicts plunge in summer travel, blames gas prices

GasBuddy predicts plunge in summer travel, blames gas prices

At least one gas price tracker expects rising fuel prices to sharply curtail summer travel. "For all those that have said summer travel will be unaffected by high gas prices, we offer thousands of respondents who have strongly indicated thatís not tr...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Construction poised to begin this week on four-story boutique hotel in Ybor City

Construction poised to begin this week on four-story boutique hotel in Ybor City

TAMPA ó A ceremony marking the start of construction on a four-story, $32 million boutique hotel at 1402 E Seventh Avenue has been set for Thursday.The site is now a parking lot, but plans on file with the city of Tampa outline a hotel project with 1...
Updated: 4 hours ago
FPL parent wants to expand its Florida footprint with new purchase

FPL parent wants to expand its Florida footprint with new purchase

TALLAHASSEE ó The parent company of Florida utility giant Florida Power & Light announced Monday that it will buy the largest electricity producer in Northwest Florida, Gulf Power, in a $6.4 billion deal.Juno Beach-based NextEra Energy Inc. said in a...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Barack and Michelle Obama are becoming television and film producers for Netflix

Barack and Michelle Obama are becoming television and film producers for Netflix

Netflix announced a production deal Monday with Barack and Michelle Obama that will see the former first couple create a wide range of content for the streaming service.The deal, talks for which had first been reported in March, will encompass a wide...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Starbucks: You donít have to buy coffee to sit in our cafes or use our restrooms

Starbucks: You donít have to buy coffee to sit in our cafes or use our restrooms

Starbucks is now allowing people to use its restrooms and sit in its cafes and patios even if they do not buy anything.The coffee giant on Saturday announced its new policy, which says that customers, including those who did not make a purchase, can ...
Updated: 11 hours ago

Hernando Business Digest for May 25

Business digestBrieflyHOSPITAL UPGRADES SURGICAL SYSTEM: Oak Hill Hospital recently acquired the latest da Vinci Xi Surgical System, which has broader capabilities than prior generations of the system. The new system is designed with the goal of furt...
Published: 05/21/18
Camping without the hassle: New service rents you all the gear you need, plus the car

Camping without the hassle: New service rents you all the gear you need, plus the car

One day in April, I returned from a camping trip - a quick 24 out of the city - and ran a load of laundry. Whatís more telling is what I didnít do.I didnít hose down a muddy tent, I didnít soak a shoddily cleaned pot, and I categorically did not empt...
Published: 05/19/18
Romano: Save your money, sports betting wonít be in Florida anytime soon

Romano: Save your money, sports betting wonít be in Florida anytime soon

It is the middle of the day and the beginning of the off-season at Tampa Bay Downs. That means the action is limited to simulcast wagering, and that means the televisions outnumber the bettors.The parimutuel industry is long past its heyday in Americ...
Published: 05/19/18
Son of Crabby Billís founder leaves complex legacy of troubled projects and good deeds

Son of Crabby Billís founder leaves complex legacy of troubled projects and good deeds

SOUTH PASADENA ó Like his father, who founded the Crabby Billís seafood restaurant chain, John Loder Sr. had a larger-than-life personality. That was one reason he dived into the real estate business, becoming a well-known, if at times controversial ...
Updated: 8 hours ago