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Millions of workers' trust eroded by pay errors

One in 10 UK workers, representing 300,000 workers in hospitality alone, don’t trust their employer to pay them the correct amount each month.

Research by accountancy and payroll company IRIS Software Group, in partnership with YouGov, found the same proportion (10%) worry that their salary won’t appear in their account on payday.

For health service workers, however, the number is even higher. Around one in six (16%) NHS and social care employees don’t trust that they’ll be paid in full and on time each month.

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Eugenio Pirri, chief people and culture officer for hotelier The Dorchester Collection, told HR Magazine that a smooth-running payroll system is vital to employer-employee trust.

He said: “The role of payroll is vital to the successful operation of any business. 

“Employees being paid properly and on time is table stakes in any business and you simply cannot afford to get it wrong. This means having a strong working relationship between HR, finance and operations to ensure all information in the systems are accurate and working hours are recorded perfectly.”

Now more than ever, he added, it’s important to get these basic steps right.

He said: “We are asking a lot from our people right now, and as we continue to navigate these changing times, getting people's pay correct just isn’t negotiable.”

One in five (20%) UK workers said their anxiety around poor communication of pay had made them consider looking elsewhere for work.

This figure rises to 22% for those in the hospitality, leisure and healthcare sectors.

David Turner, chief marketing officer at IRIS, said: “Aside from being the hardest hit by the pandemic, what these sectors all have in common is complex payroll requirements.

“Retail and hospitality have a large proportion of gig-economy workers, and healthcare and education firms have to contend with complex and constantly evolving legislation.”

Significant changes to payroll have happened over the past two years, with the introduction and end of furlough, alongside changes to tax and National Insurance.

Further changes to tax and National Insurance are expected in April 2022.

Turner added: “However, this is not a good enough excuse for poor payroll processes that keep thousands of UK workers awake at night.”

An independent report by the University of Edinburgh Business School found public sector health workers are significantly more likely than the general population to make use of credit and loans, and that they made persistent use of overdrafts to cover costs between pay days. 

Turner added: “All sectors can and must do better. Especially if they're to quell the rising storm of mass resignations.

“From improving employee communication to using software to reduce payroll errors and inefficiencies, businesses must act now to combat these stark figures as we kick off the new year.”

YouGov surveyed 2,024 adult workers for IRIS, between 14 and 21 October 2021. Figures have been weighted and are representative of British business size.