Earth Day is April 22, 2014 and it’s time to think about green payroll practices. The Environmental Paper Network reports that each American uses almost 778 pounds per year. That’s a lot of paper. It’s no longer necessary, however, to physically hand an employee a paycheck that represents their earnings for the week. Imagine 52 paychecks for each of your employees each year, as well as the ink that goes into printing them and the postage and transportation it costs to get them from a payroll vendor if you are outsourcing payroll services. Now imagine that you save all of that with green payroll practices, saving trees, reducing environmental hazards from inks and chemicals, reducing pollution from transporting a package of paper checks each week, and saving your employees the time and money it takes to drive to their banks and deposit their checks (using even more paper!).
Greening your employee paychecks means more than just printing them on green paper. It means finding alternative methods to disburse money earned to employees, rather than using printed paper checks and paystubs. Green payroll methods include direct deposit of pay through electronic funds, transfers, making electronic pay history available to employees online over the Internet or the company intranet, or issuing multi-use paycards for employees to access their pay without bank accounts. As banks often charge usage fees, paycards can be controversial because of the cost associated with accessing the money. Many worry hourly and low-wage workers are being short-changed with paycards. In spite of this, financial services consulting firm Aite Group reports that $34 billion was loaded onto 4.6 million active payroll cards in 2012, no doubt saving trees and reducing pollution in the process.
Greener Payroll Reporting
If a paycheck is a single piece of paper, imagine what the whole payroll report printed out looks like (and weighs). Greening payroll reporting means skipping that huge print job and reviewing payroll reports online or on easy readers and only printing out sections if absolutely necessary. Payroll vendors can save paper and shipping costs by making their payroll reports available online, through email or on a CD. When outsourcing payroll services, companies can ask about going paperless for payroll reporting.
How to Reduce Paper in Your Payroll Process
The Environmental Paper Network recommends making paper efficiency a priority as soon as possible to realize cost and environmental savings. If you’ve been outsourcing payroll services but want to make more changes, dedicate a paper efficiency leader to communicate that paper efficiency is a priority and why, and conduct a paper use and procurement audit. Ask for and reward for paper saving ideas from staff, customers and vendors. Measure, communicate and celebrate company-wide efforts to reduce paper use and waste with tools like the paper calculator.
Human resources information systems (HRIS) that enable human resources staff to track time and pay online electronically save paper, as do employee compensation and benefits portals. They reduce paper use throughout the entire “hire to retire” process, as well as providing efficient ways to store and access data other than printing it and locking it in a drawer.
In observance of Earth Day, ask how PAYDAY saves companies time and money with electronic payroll reports and payroll stubs, as well as text messaging for Total Payroll Liability amounts and employee direct deposit amounts.