- Associated Press - Thursday, January 23, 2014

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - Thousands of state employees in Arkansas found a surprise in their bank accounts Wednesday.

The state’s biweekly payroll was mistakenly direct-deposited into the bank accounts of just under 30,000 employees two days early. The employees should have been paid on Friday but received the money on Wednesday.

The deposits totaled about $29 million, according to a story published Thursday in The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette (https://bit.ly/1feEQ7t ).

“There was some confusion among employees who checked their bank accounts and noticed the money there early,” said Kay Terry, the state personnel administrator. “People wondered if they should spend it or if there was a chance it would be reversed once the error was noticed.”

She said the Department of Finance and Administration has no plans to reverse the early deposits and pull the money back.

“We weren’t about to take it back from that many employees,” she said. “It would have been much worse if we had paid everyone two days late instead of two days early.”

Terry said the mistake was tracked back to the department’s software provider, which was doing an update for tax and W-2 purposes.

The department is still investigating why the update triggered the early payroll deposits, but officials believe it was a one-time occurrence, Terry said.

She said the early payments didn’t result in any overdraft fees or bounced checks for the Department of Finance.

The money to pay the employees was already in the Treasury Department’s account, said Chief Deputy Treasurer Debbie Rogers.

“It’s not anything that’s going to go against the Treasury Department because the money was there to make that payment,” she said. “Bank of America won’t penalize the state in any way.”

The account has a 0.3 percent interest rate. That means the interest lost for the $29 million amounts to less than $500 for those two days.

“It wouldn’t be much (interest) at all,” Rogers said.

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Information from: Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, https://www.arkansasonline.com

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