How Payroll Cards can Help California Ag Employers Lower Risks

If you pay people late, even unintentionally, you can rack up large fines. Payroll cards solve this problem and you get the costs savings associated with direct deposit, but only if they're designed for ag. 

Hannah Freeman, CEO and Co-founder of Ganaz, shared with the California Farm Labor Contractor Association (CFLA) key insights to help ag employers.

  1. Highlights of the California Labor Code, 210

  2. Key factors holding ag employers from doing 100% electronic payroll deposits

  3. What to look for in a payroll card program as an ag employer

Dive into the video, or continue reading below.


Risks of Paying Late

Under California Labor Code § 210, employers are subject to a $100 penalty for each failure if they pay their employees’ regular pay late. The penalty applies to “any initial violation,” according to California’s law.

For any subsequent violation, the employer is subject to a $200 penalty, plus 25 percent of the amount unlawfully withheld. 

Let’s say you pay by paper check and have to chase your workers all over the state to get them their paycheck. If you have 1000 workers on biweekly pay periods, and 10% of them receive their paychecks late even once, you could face a $10,000 fine. If 10% of them receive their pay late each pay period during the course of the year, fines could add up to more than a million dollars. 

This risk and all the hassle associated with getting people paid is why most industries have moved to electronic pay with direct deposit and payroll cards. 

However, two key things are holding agricultural companies back from making the switch to direct deposit and payroll cards:

  • First, many farmworkers don’t have bank accounts and therefore can’t get direct deposit. 

  • Second, in the state of California, you have to provide the option of a paper paycheck if workers want it, so any payroll card program has to be something that workers love or they’ll just stick with the paper check.

What you ought to look for in a payroll card program

Let’s talk about what to look for in a payroll card program that could help you lower your risk of being fined for late payments, and also help you avoid other risks you could face by offering payroll cards. 


Because of the documentation status of many farmworkers, be sure to choose a payroll card program that does not rely on workers passing identity verification checks. Ask exactly how the payroll card program complies with banking regulations known as “Know Your Customer” laws. If you choose a program not built for the realities of agriculture, your workers could find themselves locked out of their cards with no way to retrieve their money.


You must offer your employees a choice, including the option for a paper paycheck. If you hope to convert most of them to payroll cards, you need to be sure the payroll card program you choose is attractive for workers and offers several key benefits:

  • Workers need to be able to withdraw their full net wages without any fees.

    • Carefully review any/all fees and compare programs to find the ones with the lowest/fewest fees

  • Easy access to account data. Mobile apps can be challenging to download & log into.

    • Does the payroll card program you’re looking at have an easy way to access balance & transaction information such as through text message or WhatsApp?

  • Ask what percent of their customer service agents are fluent in Spanish.


You still need to get workers their paystubs, so ask about whether the payroll card program you are considering can deliver paystubs electronically. 


Find out how enrollment works. 

  • Can you issue cards on the spot to new hires? 

  • Does it provide an easy way to present fees to workers? (You must do this before asking them to decide on using the card.)

  • Does it require workers to call an 800 number to set their PIN? If so, that task could end up falling on your HR staff to help with. 

  • Does it require manual data entry of account numbers? If so, you could end up with costly errors (and risks of fines) on payday.


Ganaz's vision is to provide a platform that makes it easy for employers to take great care of their people, including providing beneficial financial services that save employers and workers time and money.

We’re excited to introduce the Ganaz Mastercard® Payroll Card.

Take a look at our program and schedule some time with us to learn all about the Ganaz Mastercard® Payroll Card