Thursday, September 13, 2001

America Attacked

Ceridian offers help
with isle payrolls

The Minneapolis parent's local
office is looking for mainland
firms that need wage assistance

Star-Bulletin staff

A local payroll consulting firm is searching for mainland-based companies with Hawaii employees that need to bypass the stalled U.S. mail service to get out hard-copy paychecks.

Postal service between the islands and the mainland is frozen and will remain so for as long as the nation's major airports stay closed in the aftermath of Tuesday's terrorist assaults on New York and Washington.

The local office of payroll firm Ceridian Corp. is contacting customers of its Minneapolis-based parent to find those who need help paying Hawaii workers but Ceridian hadn't found many takers as of yesterday.

The firm was talking with the Cincinnati-based buyer of Hawaii's Liberty House stores, Federated Department Stores Inc., but Federated told Ceridian yesterday it did not need the assistance, said Peggy Maxwell-Luke, business relationship manager for Ceridian.

Ceridian continues to pursue other mainland companies. As a general rule, half of the nation's workers still get their checks on paper, while the other half have adopted electronically transferred funds.

Ceridian figures it can bypass the mail by bringing in payroll data to Hawaii electronically then dispersing checks manually from its local offices, using its usual couriers and delivery service, said general manager Cal Hutton. The firm already has the necessary relationships with local banks, Hutton said.

Ironically, Ceridian is having its own mail troubles with employee checks.

The company's internal payroll is handled from the mainland and two of its 70 Hawaii workers still take paper checks. Ceridian is figuring out how to deal with the problem. "Who knows?" Maxwell-Luke said.

Undeterred, Ceridian figures it has the capacity to push the local payroll for a couple dozen other firms. The company is targeting the litany of mainland firms doing business in Hawaii: Oceanic Cable, Home Depot, Pepsi, Apcoa and Wal-Mart. Ceridian has so far found one taker, Ogden Aviation of New Jersey, Hutton said, but the details were being firmed yesterday.

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