Is the Weekly Paycheck a Thing of the Past?

PaychecksThe dinosaur is dead and so is the weekly paycheck?sort of.

There was a time when nearly every employer in the country paid its employees with a weekly paycheck—usually on Friday, but occasionally Thursday and Wednesday’s were the payday bonanzas. The trend toward biweekly and semi monthly paychecks started to steamroll workers in the mid to late 1980’s and eventually morphed into the widespread and common practice it is today. According to Roseland, NJ based payroll processing provider, ADP Inc., about 75 percent of all major and mid-sized employers across the country pay employees on either a biweekly, semi monthly or monthly basis.

Mega corporations such as IBM, Verizon and McKesson used to pay many of their employees weekly?a perk that hundreds of thousands of workers relished for decades. However, as payroll costs soared (such as the printing of checks and technology software upgrades) and the labor force increased, corporate bean counters determined it was becoming too expensive to process payroll weekly and shifted toward processing payroll twice a month instead of four times a month.

?I used to look forward to getting a paycheck every Friday,? says Marcia A., a former IBM employee in New Jersey. ?Back in the 1970’s, getting paid every Friday was the standard. It was nice to have a steady and weekly cash flow,? she adds.? And Wayne B., a recent retiree of Verizon in New Jersey, says he remembers being among the dozens of Verizon employees trekking to a nearby bank every Thursday at lunch time to cash their paychecks. ?That was back in the 1980’s before direct deposit,? he shares. ?Unfortunately, weekly paychecks and paper checks are long gone.??

Despite the number of vanishing employers that still offer the convenience of weekly paychecks to workers, many retailers, including grocery stores and department store chains and temporary agencies process weekly paychecks.? Even some mid-sized companies, including New York-based minority business enterprise (MBE), Watson Services Inc., is a major federal contractor and food service provider based in Newburgh and has been in business for nearly 30 years. President Fred Watson, who employs more than 400 people, says one of the things that separates his company from competitors is payroll. ?We pay our employees every Friday,? Watson says. He adds, ?I’ve managed payroll for 27 years. That’s 1,500 payrolls and every Friday, I’ve been ready.?