CHARLESTON, W.Va. — It’s a sign of the times and the end of an era for many. The most recent paychecks issued to state employees weren’t paychecks at all. For the first time all state employees were paid electronically.
“They were either paid using the direct deposit system or we have about 1,700 employees who opted to use the pay card as opposed to direct deposit,” said state Auditor Glen Gainer.
The legislature mandated electronic payment in legislation passed in 2002, but Gainer’s office had never been able to fully implement the system. Those hired after 2002 had to use direct deposit. Gainer said a little more than 5,000 state workers were still getting a paper check every payday, but they were forced to make a decision and of those, 1,700 went with the card.
“We really believe now with the pay cards as a second alternative to receive their pay, the technology was there to implement the mandate in law put on the books back in 2002.” Gainer said.
Most of those who opted for the pay card are students or part-time employees. Gainer said they were careful to make sure those using the pay card, which is identical to a debit or credit card, could withdraw their money from an ATM or bank without any fees.
The switch promises to be a windfall for the state.
“It saves us about 120,000 dollars a year in processing costs,” Gainer said. “Over 10 years that’s a savings of 1-point-2 million dollars.”