How to Ensure Your Staff Get Paid During the Pandemic

Most companies face a tough test operating during this pandemic. Almost all areas of business are being forced to adjust to the new normal. Consumer behavior is also changing, forcing companies to change what products and services to offer and where and when they offer them. Employees also suddenly find themselves working remotely.

However, working from home is not as easy as many have hoped. It can be extremely challenging to be productive when everyone is on edge. Yet there’s very little margin for error, especially for those tasked to handle sensitive business processes.

Payroll, for instance, is one area that your business will want to pay particularly close attention to. Errors in payroll management can have significant consequences for everyone concerned. On the one hand, your company must avoid overpayments and payroll errors which can require additional costly payroll runs. On the other, you must be able to pay employees their due and on time. Pay delays and erroneous deductions can affect employee morale and productivity as well as expose the company to potential complaints and suits.

To prevent these problems from occurring, you should take all the necessary precautions to ensure that payroll is handled properly. Here are seven ways that can help you avoid payroll becoming an issue for your organization.

1. Take note of new labor regulations.

In response to the lockdowns and the economic crunch brought about by the pandemic, governments have issued various labor regulations that can affect how to pay, taxes, and benefits are computed. Your company needs to strictly comply with these, so it’s important for your payroll staff to know what these guidelines are and how to apply them to your situation. Global payroll company Papaya Global has provided comprehensive COVID-19 crisis guides summarizing the regulatory updates across the various countries and territories it serves. Whilst the type of solution that Papaya offers can accommodate these new employment laws and regulations in their payroll processing.

2. Make sure HR records are up to date.

It’s important for all human resources (HR) records to be up to date. These new regulations may have varying provisions depending on worker classification, so it’s important that all relevant employee information is accurate. It’s possible for lapses or gaps in record-keeping to be present, and employees may also not be accurately informing HR about any changes in their data. To remedy these, you should provide employees with online access to their records ideally via an online / SaaS HRIS system that allows workers to review and update the information as needed.

3. Be clear with your expectations.

Remote work requires adjustments for everyone. You need to be clear with employees on how you will be managing the new work arrangements. You should inform employees of how they’re supposed to work virtually and how their progress will be tracked. More progressive companies allow for greater flexibility and are more intent on tracking output rather than work hours. Other functions, however, may require presence, albeit virtually, within a set schedule. You should be able to explain these in detail to your staff.

4. Verify timesheets before processing.

Unlike physical workspaces where you may still have physical timecards or electronic means to log employee presence, your time-tracking methods may change when working remotely. There are applications like TSheets that can help with virtual time tracking and employee scheduling. It is worth noting though that you should take caution implementing strict time-tracking tactics, as some employees may feel that these invade their privacy, resulting in trust issues. Regardless of the method you use, allow for both employees and managers to verify and approve timesheets before you process the payroll.

5. Be clear in how payroll is computed.

It helps to keep employees informed of all policy changes that affect them. If the company is among those affected by new regulations, inform your workers on how exactly they may be affected if you haven’t already. Salary slips should include a detailed breakdown of gross salary, deductions such as tax and government-mandated contributions, benefits, and the net pay for the period. Even when using an automated payroll platform, be sure to communicate the way their pay is computed.

6. Notify workers when pay is available.

Paydays are often established as a matter of company policy and workers typically assume that their pay will be available on those days. There’s much uncertainty going around during this pandemic; giving employees the assurance of when they will get their pay can greatly ease some of their anxiety. Considering the overall global situation though, you may encounter some serious cash flow issues and delays in payroll may be possible. Should this be the case, be open to your workers and inform them. It’s better than leaving them wondering why they haven’t received their pay yet.

7. Provide means to quickly resolve issues.

Issues and lapses are inevitable in any company. Should these still happen despite all your precautions, be prepared to offer the means to resolve the issues promptly. Employees should be able to raise issues concerning their pay and have them attended to at the soonest possible time. Payroll errors can be quite tricky to handle as employees can get emotional if they find their pay suddenly late or lacking. But if employees trust that the company is quick to act on concerns, they should be able to keep a level head and avoid letting the issue escalate and get out of hand themselves.

Transparency is Key

Everyone is dealing with the stress of working in a pandemic, so it’s important for all members of an organization to work with each other and cooperate as companies navigate the crisis. Trust is key in this regard and being transparent concerning matters such as payroll can inspire confidence in your people. There’s no such thing as overcommunicating these days. Keeping your employees informed and up to date about all things concerning their pay and working environment will be crucial in creating a happy (remote) working environment.

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