How To Avoid Payroll Mistakes During The Festive Period

The festive season typically means a period of respite for employees. Annual leave is taken and bonuses are received. This disruption to a regular schedule, while joyous, can also lead to a number of pitfalls for companies, especially when it comes to payroll departments. Employees are often reliant on their salary to ensure they can afford a Christmas spend, while others will need to know exactly when, during a succession of bank holidays, they can expect to receive a payment.

As such, it is paramount that a business makes the appropriate effort to ensure expectations are met and that payroll mistakes are avoided. We’ve put together the most common end-of-year mistakes businesses make, as well as the ways in which they can be avoided.

Look Ahead, Be Clear

The most important thing a business can do before December is to look ahead and decide exactly which days salary payments and bonuses will be distributed. Payroll periods are shorter, banks limit the days in which payments can be processed, and many businesses close for much of the holiday season. Once the date or dates have been decided, ensuring they do not conflict with bank holidays, they should be made totally clear to your employees so that they can plan accordingly.

A number of businesses fail to make such preparations and, as such, end up causing stress and frustration for their employees. Those who have outsourced their payroll departments, especially to reputable companies like People Group Services, will be able to request detailed information early on in the year, prevent mistakes.

Schedules And Rotas

Once December nears, many employees will have certain requests and expectations for their working hours. Businesses that fail to decide their employee’s schedules early on will soon be inundated with numerous holiday requests, many of which they cannot agree to. In a worst-case scenario, this can leave many employees without their expected number of hours and, as a result, their regular salary.

Since many managers and business leaders also take annual leave during this period, it is also crucial to ensure that payroll departments and processes will continue to run without disruption. It is easy to put payments into place only to realise that they need to be authorised or processed by a member of staff who, during the Christmas period, has taken their vacation.

To coincide with the variation of regular hours and potential overtime, payroll departments must be extra cautious to avoid mistakes with employee salaries. Due to the sensitive financial nature of the festive period, even a small error can lead to significant employee frustration or reduced morale.

Check Your Software

Some businesses will rely upon automatic processes and software for their payroll operations. While this can add a certain degree of efficiency to in-house payroll processing, it can also falter during festive periods without essential checks from operators. Be sure that your financial software is up-to-date and ready for any festive disruptions that the end of year period might incur.