Q. We have been told by our accounting office that the company could save a great deal of money if it could get away from the payroll practice of providing employees with checks, and instead go to a direct-deposit arrangement. We have both a non-union work force and a small group in a union. Can we go ahead and implement such a change, or negotiate a change with the union? — M.B.
A. No and no. The Michigan Payment of Wages and Act does not permit direct deposit of wages without the employee’s written consent. Nor is there any exception for negotiating such a policy with a union. While you cannot coerce or discipline employees who are unwilling to cooperate, you may want to have employees sign up for direct deposit when they apply for a job. And you can ask employees to switch over. While an employee can withdraw consent at any time, once employees start, they rarely want to go back to checks.