The end of year is here which means time for long lunches, Christmas parties, short days, public holidays, time off work….. Right?  Well if you work in payroll, you know all too well that payroll doesn’t stop and that employees still need to be paid.  Then on top of that in the new year there is superannuation to reconcile and pay.

Payroll around this time of year can be tricky.  There are often more complex payrolls to process with more employees working longer hours, employees who take annual leave with some of them wanting to be paid in advanced, and bonuses to be calculated and paid.  On top of all this, what if your usual pay day is a public holiday?

Yes, payroll at this time of the year is more complicated but if you follow these 3 easy step, you will find that your payroll will be as jolly as good old St Nick (well you will find that your payroll will run smoothly).

1. Plan

As the usual payroll deadlines may be different with public holidays, you need to plan with all the following stakeholders to ensure that they can accommodate the amended deadlines:

  • Your payroll staff
  • Employees who need to submit timesheets and leave requests
  • Managers who approve timesheets and leave request
  • Finance department who release funds from the bank

Make sure that you put everything in writing and that all managers and the finance department sign off on the timing of the holiday payroll.

The easiest way to plan is to work out deadlines is to work out what day employees need to be paid and then work backwards to get all the other deadlines.

What day do I pay my employees?  If this is a public holiday, are you going to pay employees earlier or later (you may need to look at the employee’s contact, company policy, award, or EBA)

When you work out the pay day, your other deadlines fall into place.  You know how much time you need to process payroll (although it is wise to allow additional time over this period), so this will give you the timesheet and leave approval deadline.  Then you can work backward from this to give you the timesheet and leave request submission deadline.

2. Communicate

Once you have your plan in place, communicate with everyone involved.  Communicate with your employees to ensure that they have their timesheets submitted on time.  If they need to submit their timesheets earlier to allow for the time lost over public holidays, let them know.  Put a notice on the noticeboard or the intranet  Send out emails – You may want to send out emails a couple of weeks, another a week before and another email the day before.  Let the employees know the consequence if they miss the deadline – is there any scope to run an out of schedule payroll, or will employees need to wait until the next scheduled payroll?  Make this very clear to employees so they can plan their finances over this period.

Communicate with managers who approve timesheets . They need to know both when employees need to have their timesheets submitted and when they need to approve timesheets.  The last thing you want is for a manager to go on holidays without approving their employee’s timesheets. Once again, a notice on the noticeboard or intranet, or emails to managers to let them know of all the deadlines.

Communicate with your finance department to ensure that they are aware of their responsibility for releasing payroll from the bank noting that it may be earlier or later than usual.

3. Follow your usual process

When you have all your approved timesheets and leave requests, you can calculate and process payroll.  Yes, there will probably be a large number of adjustments with additional hours, annual leave, and public holidays, but if you follow your usual trusted process, it will ensure that your payroll will run smoothly.  It will probably take longer to process payroll over this period so ensure that you allow additional time so you are not rushing, but if you follow your usual process you will be celebrating with some eggnog in no time.