Payroll Guidance: COVID-19

This guidance has been prepared to help reduce the impact that may be caused by your current payroll process being disrupted.

The following issues have been highlighted as common areas of concern in clients’ payroll processes and the actions that can be taken to help mitigate them:

The individual who normally processes payroll is unavailable


  • Document who currently has the capability to process payroll
  • Consider training additional staff in the payroll process
  • Document the current payroll process and outline actions for staff to follow

Any software/IT that is required for payroll is unable to be accessed remotely


  • Review what access is required to run the payroll and test run outside of the normal working environment
  • If measures to allow remote access are not available, could the current payroll process be amended to remove the requirement for these systems?

The individual who makes the final payment is unavailable


  • Document who is currently authorised and able to make payment
  • Consider granting access to additional staff to complete this payment if required

The payment method is currently inaccessible


  • Review the access requirements to make payments to ensure that this can be performed remotely if necessary
  • Ensure that a back-up payment method is identified and available if required e.g. BACS/bank transfer

Unable to calculate correct payroll amounts


  • Ensure that the previous month’s payroll analysis and supporting schedules are available to all who may need it
  • Ensure that current staff records including contracted hours and salary are up to date and documented for all that may need it
  • Ensure that any additional rates including overtime, expenses, commission rates and bonuses are all documented and available to those that may need it

Payroll cannot be processed and tax cannot be calculated or declared to HMRC


  • Continue to pay staff directly. If the amount to pay staff cannot be determined, consider alternative measures to calculate pay including:
    • 1. Pay the same as last month
    • 2. Pay staff’s basic salaries only (no overtime/bonus etc.)
    • 3. Pay all staff a flat amount
  • Failure to declare and pay tax to HMRC may result in fines. If this is the case then applications may be made to HMRC’s Time To Pay service to appeal against late tax payments due to disruption caused by COVID-19

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