How to prepare for Christmas payroll

16 November 2020

As we enter approach the end of the year it is important for companies to think about Christmas and the impact it will have on their business’ usual processes. Payroll is a core requirement in every company and it can be impacted on heavily during the festive season. There are some key ways to prepare and ensure there is as little impact on the business as possible. 

1. Review dates
It is very common for companies’ pay dates to fall toward the end of the month where it may clash with bank holidays. It may also be that, although the date is clear from bank holidays, the business may make the decision to pay staff slightly early. It is important to review this with the wider business early so that a decision can be made and any changes of pay date can be communicated to employees. 

2. Review resources
December is extremely popular for people to have booked leave, especially towards the end of the month in the run up to the bank holidays. It will be important that employees involved in the processing of payroll are available at key times within the month. This will also include people such as finance managers or those with authority for payment sign offs. 

3. Work with your payroll team
Whether payroll is run in house or with an outsourced provider it will be important to plan the month of December well in advance. Having decided the pay date itself and ensuring key people will be available, it will be important to then review other deadlines. Most businesses will use a payroll processing schedule which will outline the key deadlines and steps that are met and followed each month. If adjusting the pay date or if people will have limited availability; it would be wise to adjust the deadlines accordingly and share with those involved to ensure the new deadlines will be met. 

4. Christmas bonus
Will there be any additional payments such as a bonus scheme for Christmas that will need paying? If so, start gathering information from the managers to ensure that detail is available for payroll in a timely manner. Timeframes will now likely be tighter than a normal month so having additional payments will be easier if planned in advance.

5. RTI reporting
If you decide to bring forward your payment date to staff in December. It is important that the payment date change is not reported on your RTI submission for December this still needs to be filed to HMRC on or before your normal payment date. If you change the payment date in your payment system this will have an impact on any staff who receive Universal Credit or state benefits.

6. Payslips
This should show normal payment dates not the date staff are actually paid if you decide to bring your payment date forward.

Don’t forget to pay your PAYE liabilities which will be due on or before 22 December 2020 if you pay electronically (19 December if paying by other means).

Overall the key aim is to plan and be organised well in advance, so the process can remain well-structured and streamlined. It will reduce the impact that Christmas can have on a business. 

For more information on how RSM can help you streamline your payroll process, please contact Simon Balaam