In payroll, it is all about the dates. For employers and HR, this means deciding on a payroll schedule to dictate how frequent to pay employees. Once a payroll schedule is decided, it becomes easier to set up a payroll calendar to facilitate timely salary disbursements.
Payroll schedules for businesses vary depending on a couple of factors – specific industry practices, job type, career level, employment type (contractor versus full-time employee) etc. For most businesses, the payroll schedule, in which salaries are disbursed to employees, will fall into either one of the four categories:
- Weekly – salaries are paid out once per week
- Biweekly – salaries are paid out once every other week
- Semimonthly – salaries are paid twice a month
- Monthly – salaries are paid once per month
Regardless of the payroll schedule, how should HR plan out the payroll schedule to ensure employees are paid on time? Here are some steps to creating a well-planned payroll calendar and sticking with it.
Decide on a payroll frequency
The first step in creating a payroll calendar is to decide on the payroll frequency. How often do you want to be paying your employees? The payroll frequency that you decide on often depends on the type of roles you hire in your organisation and also the industry that your organisation falls into.
Once you have decided on the payroll frequency, it becomes easier to decide on the start and end date of the pay period. One important thing to note is that payroll frequency norms may vary from country to country. For payroll professionals that have a regional payroll portfolio, it is important to ensure that payroll frequency comply with the local legislations before planning out the payroll calendar.
Account for public holidays
It is easy to plan out a payroll calendar – until a public holiday comes along and throws everything off. When planning out your payroll calendar, it is imperative to take into account public holidays, particularly if you are managing a regional payroll portfolio. Have on hand the list of public holiday dates for the year as you plan out your payroll calendar. This allows you to accurately plan your payroll calendar for months whereby payday falls on a public holiday.
Set up payroll reminders
With the numerous tasks that payroll department has to handle, it can be difficult to keep track of important payroll dates. Once you have established the annual payroll calendar, set up payroll reminders for important tasks such as payroll cut-off date, salary disbursement, and tax filing and reporting. It can be as simple as using Post-Its to remind yourself or staff, or perhaps setting calendar reminders on your email inbox. It is also helpful to share these important dates and reminders to employees to ensure that salary items, including claims submission or allowances, are captured in the upcoming payroll cycle.
Maximise the features of a payroll software
If you are finding it difficult to keep track of your important payroll dates, consider leveraging on your payroll software. Most payroll software today have in-built features that automatically tracks public holidays and monitors your payroll calendar. They not only act as your virtual assistant, but also help to get you into a routine in processing your payroll according to your payroll calendar.
Setting up a payroll calendar and sticking with it is a fairly simple affair. However, it is a collective effort from the entire payroll and HR team to adhere to the timelines in order to ensure that employees are paid on time.