Essential Workers’ COVID-19 Expenses Spur 400% Spike In Advance Access To Salaries

Six weeks into the pandemic, workers are shifting their spending from COVID-19-related expenses to a broader range of household and family expenses, according to data from DailyPay.

In March, the company launched its DailyPay Workforce Index, whichtracks work hours reported by its client companies in four industries — call centers, hospitals, quick service restaurants and supermarkets — as well as individual workers using the service.

Kroger and several regional grocery and convenience chains use DailyPay to give workers access to the money they have earned within a few hours (the “now” option), or the day after (the “next day” option), through a mobile app or online.

“One of the first things that we noticed was the 400% spike in access to pay for COVID-19-related purposes,” said Jeanniey Mullen, Chief Innovation and Marketing Officer at DailyPay in a statement. Those expenses included food, medicine, diapers and other items consumers stocked up on.


“Over the past few weeks, we have seen the use of DailyPay funds move to impact-management issues,” Mullen noted. Examples include extending cell phone data plans to support remote working, absorbing higher grocery costs as people stay at home, and the need to make up for shortfalls when household members are out of work but not yet receiving unemployment, she said.

“We are still seeing around 13% usage for COVID-related needs,” Mullen added.

Supermarket jobs are holding up better than the four sectors collectively, which were showing a double-digit decline in the number of working employees for the week starting April 20 versus the prior week. For supermarkets, “the decrease is minimal. We’re finally starting to see some positive shift,” she said. In mid-March, DailyPay waived the $1.99 fee previously charged to workers for next-day payouts. “We made the decision to make changes internally to our business because it was the best way we could give back and support workers at this time,” Mullen noted. “We applaud every employer, including the entire Kroger family of companies, for making this benefit available to their employees.”

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