10 Fun Facts About Payroll

This week, businesses across the United States take time to thank their payroll teams and reflect on all of the successful paydays of the past year. While technology has made it easier than ever for HR teams to pay their employees, crunching the numbers can still be a laborious task for payroll professionals. National Payroll Week serves as a reminder that there are dedicated professionals working hard everyday to ensure we get paid accurately and on time.

To help you celebrate, we’ve rounded up 10 fun facts about payroll.

Fact 1: National Payroll Week was founded by The American Payroll Association in 1996. It is designed to celebrate the partnership between America’s workers, companies, payroll professionals, and government aid programs such as social security and Medicare. The weeklong event even has its own theme song.

Fact 2: President Roosevelt raised the top tax rate to 79 percent for Americans making over $5 million in 1935, but it only applied to one person at that time—John D. Rockefeller.

Fact 3: The Payday candy bar was invented in 1932. At first, the inventors didn't know what to call their new creation. It happened to be payday, so one of them suggested they call it a Payday bar—and the rest is history!

Fact 4: The most common pay frequency in the U.S. is biweekly, which is used by 37 percent of private businesses. Surprisingly, weekly beats semimonthly as a runner-up at 32 percent.

Fact 5: 78.2 million workers in the U.S. are hourly employees. This represents nearly 60 percent of all wage and salary workers.

Fact 6: According to ancient “paystubs,” employees in Egypt and Mesopotamia used to be paid in beer and other commodities.

Fact 7: Many employees still receive paper checks, largely because around 20 percent of U.S. households are “unbanked” or “underbanked,” meaning they either don’t own or don’t regularly use a checking or savings account.

Fact 8: The first employee time clock was built by Willard Legrand Bundy and was patented in 1891. At the time, it was dubbed the the “Workman’s Time Recorder.” You can actually view the original patent illustrations here.

Fact 9: In the 1890s, American was deeply divided over whether the nation should support its currency with gold (supporters were known as “gold bugs”) or with gold and silver (“silverites”). This question became a deciding factor in the 1896 presidential election. Ultimately, the gold bugs triumphed with the election of William McKinley.

Fact 10: The President of the United States earns an annual salary of $400,000 during his or her term, and an annual pension of about $200,000 after leaving office.

Don’t forget to thank your payroll team for all they do! This week is a great opportunity to leave Payday candy bars on their desks, email them these fun facts about payroll, and give them the recognition they deserve for keeping those paychecks flowing each pay cycle.

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