CareCredit - Women's Health April 2024

Duke University Program Highlights Growing Popularity of On-Demand Pay

Gone are the days when employees were content with waiting for the standard pay cycle to receive their hard-earned wages. 

Today’s workforce, whether grappling with the uncertainties of living paycheck to paycheck or navigating the gig economy, craves more flexibility and immediate access to their earnings, especially in times of emergencies.

This demand for greater pay flexibility has given rise to solutions like early wage access (EWA), often referred to as early, instant, or on-demand pay. 

This trend is substantiated by findings from a collaborative study by PYMNTS Intelligence and Ingo Payments, which reveals a rising preference among Americans for real-time income and earnings payouts when given the option. In fact, 77% of U.S. employees prefer instant payouts, with freelancers, contractors and consultants showing the highest inclination toward real-time disbursements, at 81%.

Read more: The Rise of Instant Payroll Payments in 2023

Even more striking is the willingness among independent professionals to pay for the convenience of receiving disbursements through instant payment rails, surpassing other individual categories in terms of enthusiasm for this option. 

The data, corroborated by separate PYMNTS Intelligence research conducted in collaboration with The Clearing House (TCH), underscores the growing demand for more immediate access to earnings, particularly among gig workers who often require more frequent pay access than the traditional semimonthly payroll.

Employers are not oblivious to these shifting dynamics; and are readjusting their benefits packages to better align with the evolving needs of their workforce. This proactive approach often involves forging partnerships with established on-demand payment platforms like DailyPay, identified in the study as a particularly effective strategy for implementing EWA initiatives.

DailyPay, which recently secured $175 million in funding at a valuation of $1.75 billion, boasts partnerships with major employers across various industries, including hospitality, retail, and now education, signaling a broader recognition of the importance of financial flexibility in the modern workplace.

Notably, Duke University has recently joined the ranks of employers leveraging such platforms, announcing its partnership with DailyPay to offer EWA to its employees starting March 25. 

This initiative allows employees enrolled in either DailyPay or Wisely to access a portion of their earned wages outside of the standard pay cycle, with funds promptly disbursed to the designated bank account or debit card. 

Commenting on the news, Antwan Lofton, vice president for Duke Human Resources and chief human resources officer, said, “We live in a world that requires more flexibility to address emerging needs and changing circumstances, [and] this program is another way we are demonstrating Duke’s commitment to support our employees.”

The significance of such programs extends beyond mere convenience. EWA programs represent a departure from the traditional top-down approach to compensation, instead fostering a more equitable and empowering relationship between employers and employees. 

In fact, findings from various PYMNTS Intelligence studies indicate that early access to wages and instant payroll services have a significant impact on employee loyalty and reduced turnover, benefits that are invaluable to any employer striving to cultivate a committed and stable workforce.

For instance, fee-free real-time payments boost satisfaction by 11% and nearly double the likelihood of loyalty, underscoring the effectiveness of such programs as strong employee retention tools.