By Kerry Cole

As the national debate over increasing the federal minimum wage continues, four out of five respondents to the APA’s latest “Getting Paid In America” survey said the rate should be increased. More than 34,000 workers took the online survey as part of National Payroll Week® (NPW) 2017.

When asked about the federal minimum wage, which has not increased since 2009, 81% said it should be increased.

The survey, which seeks to understand American workers’ attitudes about their pay and how they receive it, also asked whether respondents’ employers provide an employee self-service portal for accessing pay and benefits information. More than 82% said they did.

“The employee experience becomes more personalized when individuals can access scheduling, time tracking, pay, and other people-oriented information at their fingertips,” said Lisa Sterling, Chief People Officer at Ceridian, a Platinum Sponsor of NPW. “By taking ownership of their work-life blend, employees feel valued and empowered.”

Asked why they prefer a large tax refund over getting more money in each paycheck, 27% said they use it to pay down or pay off credit card debt; 19% use it to boost emergency savings; another 19% use it for big purchases; and 18% use it for vacation.

“Make sure your withholdings on your Form W-4 are at the proper level,” advised Frank Tresnak, Business Development Manager for Symmetry Software, an NPW Media Partner. “Some say they want a bigger refund to pay bills, but getting more money each paycheck lets you pay bills faster and pay less interest as well.”

Responding to whether higher wages or better health benefits are most important to them, 63% chose higher wages.

“A wage increase is easy for workers to understand,” said Mike Trabold, Director of Compliance Risk for Paychex, another Platinum NPW Sponsor. “The value is clear and immediately apparent. In 2017, considering today’s unpredictable regulatory environment, the same can’t be said for better benefits.”

Visit for complete results of the 2017 “Getting Paid In America” survey.

Kerry Cole is Senior Editor of Membership Publications for the APA.