Amid Labor Shortage, Gen Z Demands ‘EWA’ Wage


In the eyes of many young workers, it is simply unacceptable to wait two weeks before being paid.

Companies like McDonald’s, Walmart, Target, Kroger and Dollar Tree have taken notice and are offering workers the ability to access hourly pay on demand – in a compensation method known as Earned Wage Access ( EWA) – in the hope of reinforcing the persistent labor shortage.

Andrew Duffy, a labor economics expert, said food institute most young workers have a clear philosophy about compensation these days.

“To quote one of the most contagious ads of all time, ‘It’s my money, and I need it now,'” said Duffy, CEO of SparkPlug, an incentive management program for workers in catering and retail. “Workers like that [with EWA] they immediately receive their pay for the hours worked, rather than waiting two weeks for the next paycheck,” Duffy said.

Some industry insiders also believe that the EWA helps companies provide more transparency with employees. Melissa Johnston, vice president of human resources at Pacific Bells/World Wide Wings, said this is one of the main reasons employees value pay-as-you-go.

“Some of the strongest feelings [regarding EWA] surround those who are young and already parents. Access to earned wages has helped them get nappies and food for their young families without having to use a payday advance,” Johnston said. food institute.


EWA advocates say compensation method helps workers avoid overdraft fees and payday loans, reports Retail Brewing (August 17).

“Young workers – often the main workers in the food industry – are often the ones who live paycheck to paycheck and need the most flexibility in terms of when they get paid,” said said Jim Colassano, senior vice president of product development and strategy. to the Clearing House Payments Company.

Gen Z largely expects EWA because most members entered the workforce after the advent of on-demand jobs in the gig economy.

“When workers have the alternative option of earning money on Doordash, Uber or TaskRabbit – where earned income is paid much faster than in a standard hourly job – they expect the same from their hourly employers,” said Duffy.

Notable findings regarding the EWA include:

  • According to earned pay access provider Instant Financial, 87% of Gen Z and 84% of Millennials recently said they would be more interested in applying for a job that pays them the same day they work.
  • A study by Mercator Advisory Group found that the average seniority of retail employees increased by 24% when using EWA.

“The trend for EWA offers has always been toward hourly workers, but ‘snapshot [pay]’ is seeing increased interest from employer companies, and the industry trend seems to be moving in that direction,” said Tal Clark, CEO of Instant Financial.


Clark insists that the EWA can provide a much-needed boost to American workers, as long as companies use the compensation method responsibly.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has set out requirements that EWA providers must meet to avoid being defined as “credits” under the Truth in Lending Act. The service should be free for employees, who can only access already accrued salaries, and earnings information should come directly from the employer. The CFPB plans to issue further guidance on EWA soon, Retail Brewing reported.

“The narrative around EWA often paints a picture of disguised payday loans, taking advantage of the most vulnerable workers and deepening the cycle of poverty,” Clark said, “which is simply not the case when employers partner with a responsible supplier.


Johnston, human resources manager, said the employees she works with say they are actually saving more money these days, thanks in large part to EWA.

“When we first moved to a concept of access to earned wages, as an organization we were concerned that our teams would be pulling out daily (and) that they hadn’t saved enough for their living expenses. base, and that it would ultimately create a bigger problem for them,” Johnston recalls. “To our surprise, it had the exact opposite effect.

“Our teams tell us that because they can see how much they are earning daily – and they check, believe me – they are able to plan their weeks better and as a result see their bank accounts grow,” he said. she adds.


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