On November 17, 2009, the Oklahoma Attorney General issued a formal opinion, Attorney General Opinion 09-31, regarding payment of wages by electronic means. The payment of wages due an employee by electronic means is governed by the Federal Electronic Fund Transfer Act (“EFTA”) (15 U.S.C. §§ 1693-1693r). See 15 U.S.C. § 1693q. The regulation implementing the EFTA, 12 C.F.R. §§ 205-205.18, and the Official Staff Interpretations supplementing Regulation E (12 C.F.R. pt. 205, supp. I) provide additional authority in the application of the EFTA to electronic wage payments. See Ford Motor Credit Co. v. Milhollin, 444 U.S. 555, 567-68 (1980); 15 U.S.C. §§ 1693b, 1693m. The EFTA preempts state law governing consumer electronic fund transfers to the extent that those laws are inconsistent with the EFTA and then only to the extent of the inconsistency. See 15 U.S.C. § 1693q.
The Attorney General concluded an employer may require an employee to accept the payment of wages by direct deposit. However, the employer cannot require a certain bank be used. If the employer’s policy only allows employees to receive the direct deposits at a certain bank, then they cannot require the employee to use direct deposit and must offer the option of cash or check. The employer cannot require the use of payroll debit cards. The employee can choose to use a payroll debit card, but it must be voluntary.
Wage statements (pay stubs) do not have to be written or printed. They can be in electronic form as long as the method of delivery places no burden on the employee in order to receive the statement. The employer cannot post the information on the internet and require the employee to login to view the information. No other examples of what form of delivery would be considered acceptable were listed. The burden on the employee would depend on the factual circumstances involved.
Regardless of the method of delivery, wages must be payable on demand without discount. Employees cannot be charged a fee to receive wages by electronic means.
The full opinion from the Oklahoma Attorney General may be found here.