Protecting Employees - Payroll

24/03/2020 In the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic, robust continuity strategies are now critical. In addition to business operations and sales, your business continuity plans should focus on protecting your employees.

During this period of uncertainty, businesses could be faced with payroll staff having to work remotely with limited access to systems and/or to self-isolating. So contingency plans may be required. 

To protect your employees, your contingency plan should consider and include the following steps: 

Payroll Processing 

If your payroll team is unavailable, those who step in to support your business need to be able to collate the required information and if necessary, process this into your payroll software. 

If you use a payroll bureau then someone should be aware of how to give them all the information they require. That information may include amongst other things: 

  • Starters and Leavers 
  • Permanent changes i.e. salary increases etc 
  • Pension changes (in line with auto-enrolment legislation) 
  • Sick and Absence recording (this one will become vital) 
  • Parental leave changes. 

Payroll Legislation 

Pre Covid-19, payroll legislation was already a complex area. Now, we see rules and policies changing daily. 

If you have outsourced your payroll function, this will not concern you, although it is still important someone is able to check and authorise the payroll when complete. 

If you process payroll in-house, this may be very concerning right now as you may only have one or two people with this specific knowledge. Begin training in the most basic and essential areas straight away. 

Payments 

One of the most important questions to consider is, how will we pay our staff should our payroll manager become ill? 

You should ensure that you have a solid and transparent plan to pay employees in the coming months. Who has access to the clearing and settlement payment methods? If you cannot access payroll, how will you know what to pay?

Payslips 

Legally, employees are entitled to a payslip whether working in the office or remotely. Plans need to be put in place for this, so access to stationary or printers might need to be provisioned. 

Investigate electronic payslips if you believe printed slips will be problematic. 

Your Plan

  • Test your processes to ensure they work with all the recent changes 
  • Ensure you have additional, appropriate staff in place with access to all payroll systems 
  • If you have time, put training in place so others understand what is required 
  • Speak to your software providers to check if they can increase support if required 

This article was written by Erick Gillier , Leading Partner (Accounting & Outsourcing Solutions) at Mazars UK and Jonathan Fryer , Partner (Accounting & Payroll Outsourcing) at Mazars Thailand.