The Death of the Traditional Pay Check? U.S. Workers Want Faster Access to Wages, Finds Workforce Institute at Kronos Survey

LOWELL, Mass.--()--Today’s on-demand society should prompt organizations to rethink when employees get paid in 2020: Nearly 3 out of every 4 U.S. employees (72%) want access to their wages before their pay day, according to The Workforce Institute at Kronos Incorporated.

The “Death of the Traditional Pay Check” survey was conducted online by The Harris Poll on behalf of The Workforce Institute at Kronos among 1,180 employed U.S. adults to better understand how immediate access to earned wages (i.e. on-demand pay) and financial wellness can support recruitment, retention, and a better employee experience.

News Facts

  • It’s my money and I want it now! Employees desire modern pay day solutions.
    • Three in 5 employees (61%) think they should not have to wait until their scheduled pay day to access their earned wages, including 65% of those who work in retail, 61% of healthcare workers, and 54% of manufacturing/construction employees. More than half of all employees (51%) believe on-demand pay is a more attractive benefit than additional paid time off.
    • Employees with a household income of less than $50,000/year are more likely than those with a household income of more than $50,000/year to wish they could have early access to their earned wages (87% vs. 67%).
    • Just 6% of employees are paid on-demand today, but if they had the option, 43% would choose to be paid on-demand instead of a scheduled pay day. That includes about half of 18- to 34-year-olds (50%) and 35- to 44-year-olds (51%). Renters (51%) are more likely than homeowners (39%) to pick on-demand pay over a predetermined pay day.
    • The majority of employees (70%) say the 5-day/40-hour pay period is outdated, including 72% of workers in healthcare, 66% in retail, and 59% in manufacturing/construction. Employees who can do their job from anywhere (75%) are more likely than employees who must be present to do their jobs (66%) to feel the 5-day/40-hour pay period is outdated.
  • Making ends meet: on-demand pay would help employees and employers alike.
    • More than half of employees (53%) agree financial stress distracts them from their work. Employees 35- to 44-years-old (67%) and 18- to 34-years-old (65%) are more likely than those ages 45+ (39%) to say financial stress distracts them from their work. Working parents with a child under 18 (61%) are more likely than those without a child under 18 (48%) to say financial stress distracts them from work.
    • Two-thirds of employees (66%) wish they had early access to earned wages to simply cover bills, especially emergency expenses such as a car repair (32%) or unplanned medical care (19%). Enjoying a night out (11%), Black Friday/Cyber Monday/holiday shopping (10%), and student loan repayments (6%) were among the least likely reasons to want on-demand pay.
    • The vast majority of hourly (75%) and salary (71%) workers would consider paying up to a $5 fee reasonable to access $50 of their wages before pay day. Nearly one in 10 (8%) workers would consider a staggering $50 fee reasonable to access $50 of their earned wages early, which could signal a desperation among some for safe and reliable access to their own money as an alternative to short-term pay day loans.
  • An attractive benefit: financial wellness as an employee experience strategy.
    • Three-quarters of employees (74%) say they would prefer to work for an employer that offers financial planning, budgeting, and automated savings tools over one that does not, including a staggering 88% of 35- to 44-year-olds.
    • Roughly 2 out of 3 employees (64%) want their employer to help them cover unexpected expenses by offering early wage access, short-term loans, or other financial assistance, including 80% of 35- to 44-year-olds, 71% of renters, and 71% of parents with children under 18.
    • More than half of employees (57%) say they would work harder and stay longer at a company that offers on-demand pay, with no significant difference between hourly (58%) and salary (56%) employees.

Supporting Quotes

  • Joyce Maroney, executive director, The Workforce Institute at Kronos
    “Amazon Prime, Lyft, Netflix, Venmo: The world has changed dramatically to usher in a generation of on-demand services, yet most organizations still think about pay day as a rigid, set-in-stone process. Employers who can ease the burden of financial stress by being more agile around pay day and offering creative financial wellness benefits will be repaid by orders of magnitude in productivity and engagement.”
  • Martin Armstrong, CPP, DBA, vice president, payroll shared services, Charter Communication; advisory board member, The Workforce Institute at Kronos
    “For some employees, not having cash on hand to pay the babysitter actually prevents them from accepting an overtime shift where they can make much more. For others, they may be a flat tire away from losing their job because they can’t pay to get it fixed. Employers have embraced the responsibility of offering physical wellness programs to employees, and as we welcome 2020 it’s time they consider doing the same with financial wellness and on-demand pay.”
  • Bob Clements, president, Axsium Group; advisory board member, The Workforce Institute at Kronos
    “As previous Workforce Institute at Kronos research shows, younger employees want the flexibility of gig work but the stability of a traditional full-time job – and the same can now be said for how they want to be paid. Organizations that embrace an on-demand pay model will be one step closer to offering an engaging, future-ready workplace experience that will lure the top talent and position them for success for years to come.”

Supporting Resources

About Kronos Incorporated
Kronos is a leading provider of workforce management and human capital management cloud solutions. Kronos industry-centric workforce applications are purpose-built for businesses, healthcare providers, educational institutions, and government agencies of all sizes. Tens of thousands of organizations — including half of the Fortune 1000® — and more than 40 million people in over 100 countries use Kronos every day. Visit Kronos: Workforce Innovation That Works.

Survey Methodology:
This survey was conducted online within the U.S. by The Harris Poll on behalf of The Workforce Institute at Kronos from Oct. 3-7, 2019 among 1,180 employed U.S. adults ages 18 and older. This online survey is not based on a probability sample and therefore no estimate of theoretical sampling error can be calculated. For complete survey methodology, including weighting variables and subgroup sample sizes, please contact

© 2019 Kronos Incorporated. All rights reserved. Kronos and the Kronos logo are registered trademarks and Workforce Innovation That Works is a trademark of Kronos Incorporated or a related company. See a complete list of Kronos trademarks. All other trademarks, if any, are property of their respective owners.


Dan Gouthro
Kronos Incorporated
+1 978.947.7310

Release Summary

Financial wellness and on-demand pay will be an increasingly important benefit in 2020, according to a Workforce Institute at Kronos survey.


Dan Gouthro
Kronos Incorporated
+1 978.947.7310