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National Payroll Week: what HR should know

Payroll has always been a vital element of the workplace, but employers are often guilty of not prioritising its importance.

Coronavirus and its ongoing impacts has meant business leaders have been forced to reconsider how necessary timely pay is amid financial insecurity of their employees.

Nearly half (46.5%) of British businesses now believe their organisation will look radically different after the crisis, according to payroll provider SD Worx.

“HR teams can lead the charge when it comes to mastering financial infrastructure like payroll to provide reassurance for employees. In addition, employers too will feel the benefit of improved financial order,” SD Worx global chief operating officer Brenda Morris, told HR magazine.

“As more businesses start relying on flexible and temporary staff working a variety of shifts and hours, it can become difficult when trying to be nimble and agile especially if payroll isn’t done right.

"Payroll is a core function that cannot be taken for granted in times like these; when managed correctly, it is the foundation of productivity, openness and staff morale.”

Going ahead, one of the main changes will be the changing attitudes towards payroll, with British businesses now stating it’s their number one priority, above employee wellbeing.

To mark National Payroll Week, we’ve gone through our archive to explore how to build a successful and resilient payroll service.

Flexible payroll systems

Growing in popularity pre and certainly post-coronavirus will be the availability of flexible payroll systems which allow staff to choose a pay day that best suits their personal lives or to draw down advances on wages.

We look at what HR should consider before introducing a flexible payroll system:

Financial insecurity

Financial insecurity is being pitted as one of the largest challenges for employees as the UK economy deals with a pandemic-triggered global recession and a potential second lockdown.

With Howden research uncovering that 96% of UK employers believe that some of their workers are experiencing persistent money worries, now could be the time to re-consider the financial wellbeing of your workforce.

Our cover issue from earlier this year takes a deep dive into the issue of in-work poverty and how payroll can support employees:

Freelancer payroll

With the rise in the number of firms using temporary staff and freelance contractors, more HR departments are opting to outsource their payroll functions for such workers.

There are good reasons to do so, particularly for small and medium-sized businesses that wish to avoid the expense of a full-time in-house payroll team. However, there are certain key points that HRDs must bear in mind:


Plans to overhaul IR35 legislation were put on hold in March as a result of coronavirus, yet there are now calls for the government to use this extra time to rethink the legislation, which has been created to tackle tax avoidance in 'off-payroll' working.

Reforms set to extend the off-payroll rules to the private sector have now been delayed to 6 April 2021, but here’s what HR should know to get prepared: