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Half of employees have missed a bill payment due to inaccurate payroll

Payroll inconsistencies are putting additional pressure on employees during the cost of living crisis, a study found

Nearly half (46%) of UK employees said they have missed a bill payment as a direct result of inaccurate payroll, according to payroll provider MHR.

Samantha O’Sullivan, policy lead at Chartered Institute of Payroll Professionals (CIPP), said incorrect payroll is unacceptable.

Speaking to HR magazine, she said: “The first requirement of any payroll professional is to pay people accurately, and on time, every time.

"Accuracy ensures people can meet their financial commitments on time, along with paying their statutory deductions like income tax, national insurance and student loans. Payroll does this, all whilst complying with a plethora of legislative requirements.”

Read more: How to get payroll right in the cost of living crisis

The study found 67% of employees said worrying about finances distracts them at work, while 65% said money had affected their mental health this year. 

A third (33%) of employees said greater visibility and control over their payroll would help reduce money stress.

Anton Roe, CEO at MHR, said organisations which do not prioritise employee financial wellbeing risk higher turnover and lower productivity.

Speaking to HR magazine, he said: “If organisations do not address the financial wellbeing of individual employees, soon enough the financial wellbeing of the entire business will be in doubt. 

“Our research draws a direct link between employees’ financial wellbeing and engagement at work, which naturally impacts productivity and ultimately a company’s bottom line. 

“This is compounded by the increased flight risk of employees who feel they are not supported by their employer, which may lead to them looking for new opportunities elsewhere."

O’Sullivan said employers can implement systems which allow employees to access their wages as they are earned for added flexibility.

She added: "Many employers are utilising earned wage access solutions (EWA) to give employees more control over their pay. The CIPP recommends employers offer EWA service alongside a wider financial wellbeing/education programme, to ensure employees' financial wellbeing is protected and cared for."

Read more: Asda introduces salary flexibility policy to help cost of living

Asda implemented a scheme in April, which allowed employees to access part of their wages early and monitor their earnings throughout the month.

Employees can also use the app to automatically set aside money in a 'rainy-day pot' and access financial wellbeing tools such as a benefits entitlement calculator.  

Hayley Tatum, chief people officer at Asda, said that the measures were in place to help employees through the current challenging economic landscape.

Speaking to HR magazine, she said: “We understand that from time to time, our colleagues may need a bit more financial help, something which has been made worse by the current cost of living crisis. 

“We are always looking at ways we can help, and giving our colleagues flexible access to their pay, alongside a range of support and guidance through the Wagestream app, could prove vital in giving them financial peace of mind as well as their mental wellbeing.”