The Ofqual recognised Payroll Specialist Certificate online qualification takes individuals beyond the basic knowledge and skills of payroll administration, into the complexities surrounding payroll legislation and contractual obligations. 

Whilst studying, students will investigate the intricacies of the payroll function, mastering the confidence to tackle non-routine circumstances relevant to the workplace, empowering you to meet the demands of this rapidly evolving industry.

The qualification is designed to encourage independent learning that is relevant to the workplace, empowering individuals to meet the demands of this rapidly evolving industry.


Who is this qualification aimed at and why you should invest?

Who is this qualification aimed at? 

The qualification content and breadth are suitable for those who currently work within the payroll industry. If you have undertaken our PTCA or PTC Top up within the last two years or have relevant payroll experience of the basic payroll function (you will need to pass the RPL tests beforehand), then this qualification is ideal for you. From Payroll Administrators to Payroll Supervisors and Payroll Specialists, whether processing in-house or outsourced payroll or working within payroll software development, this qualification offers in-depth knowledge and skills to enhance your career.
Payroll Managers will also benefit from this qualification if you want to refresh your knowledge from studying previously, or if you do not already hold the Foundation Degree in Payroll Management.
This qualification is also suitable for HR or Finance professionals who hold responsibility for active management or oversight of their organisation’s payroll function.

Why you should invest in this qualification?

If you are an employer, having fully trained payroll staff is vital for your organisations stability, to ensure you remain compliant with the increasing amount of regulation and legislation which impacts on the day to day running of the payroll department.
If you are an individual, this qualification will not only increase your knowledge but build your confidence. In turn this will boost your employability within the payroll industry, enhance future career options, and provide you with the skills to stand out amongst your peers.
On completion, you will have the knowledge and skills required to address non-routine complex circumstances by evaluating different approaches and defining the best practice methods to ensure compliance. It will also enable you to review the effectiveness and appropriateness of these methods, actions and results.


The following is a summary of the content this qualification contains by unit. There are seven mandatory units to be completed.

Unit 1 - Payroll in Context

  • Internal and external stakeholder obligations and expectations

  • Impact of ineffective communication between the payroll department and internal/external stakeholders

  • Communication best practice

  • Relevant elements of UK law and how it affects payroll

  • Devolution and how it affects payroll processes

  • Main pieces of legislation affecting payroll and its processes

Unit 2 - Advanced National Minimum Wage

  • Employer’s obligations under National Minimum Wage Regulations

  • Allocating minimum wage pay to a pay reference period

  • Salary  sacrifice arrangement and the impact on minimum wage pay

  • Impact of minimum wage rates changes regarding resource, processes and ensuring compliance

  • Differing types of work for minimum wage purposes and the pay rate

  • Impact of excess hours worked by salaried hours worker

  • Employer-provided living accommodation, benefits in kind or optional goods or services provided by an employer for minimum wage purposes

  • Common minimum wage errors, HMRC’s enforcement strategy and the penalties associated with a minimum wage breach

  • Calculating minimum wage arrears, correcting underpayments and the communication best practice

Unit 3 - Advanced National Insurance Contributions

  • Dealing with less common earning periods and NI categories

  • Adapting NI limits and thresholds for less common earning periods

  • NI reliefs, conditions, and rules

  • Aggregated earnings when calculating NIC’s

  • Handling mistimed payments and the implications

  • Making category corrections

  • Reporting changes

Unit 4 - Advanced Income Tax and Other Deductions

  • Calculating income tax for less common pay frequencies

  • Situations that result in an income tax refund

  • Influences on tax codes

  • Impact of payments made in week 53, 54 or 56

  • Grossing up

  • Student and postgraduate loan deductions for less frequent pay periods and irregularly paid employees

  • Calculating attachment orders for less common pay frequencies or multiples of a week or month

  • Categorising attachment orders and dealing with more than one attachment order

Unit 5 - Introduction to Expenses and Benefits

  • Why and how employers provide benefits in kind

  • The benefits code      

  • Tax & NICs implications

  • Calculating values for non-payrolled commonly provided benefits

  • Expenses policy best practice

  • Exemptions for qualifying business expenses

  • Scale rate payments

  • Optional remuneration arrangements

  • Reporting payrolled and non-payrolled benefits

  • PAYE Settlement Agreements

  • Deadlines and compliance

Unit 6 - Child-related statutory payments and other family leave

  • Eligibility criteria for all parties

  • Notices and declarations

  • Communication

  • Employee eligibility

  • Statutory parental bereavement leave and pay

  • Record-keeping requirements for statutory parental bereavement leave and pay

  • Child related payments in relation to redundancy, leavers, multiple employers etc.

  • Early births

  • Alabaster rules

Unit 7 - Further Aspects of Payroll Administration

  • Overpayments and the cause

  • Reducing the risk

  • Authorised deductions from pay and the implications for NMW, tax/NICs, Real Time Information (RTI) reporting

  • Termination packages

  • Statutory redundancy pay

  • Year-end and start of year tasks (tax code changes, cumulative refresh, payroll records clear down)

Entry requirements

  • Must be over 16 years of age.

  • Proficient in Maths and English to L2 (GCSE).

  • Preferable but not essential, should be working in a payroll environment or have responsibility for a payroll function.

  • Must have successfully completed PTCA, PTC, L3 Payroll Administrator Apprenticeship, Payroll Centre L3 Payroll Techniques. Certificates will be requested.

  • An RPL assessment is available for individuals who have no formal qualification but do have experience. 


Online delivery
This online qualification is delivered through our online learning platform, providing students with more flexibility. Students will work through detailed interactive study material with activities, quizzes, and forum participation. All content is workplace relevant, and students may track their understanding through undertaking knowledge-check assessments before progressing to the next section. The qualification is assessed at two points with a multiple-choice test and an examination at each. 

Successful completion of this qualification demonstrates a level of confidence and a broader understanding of the complexities of real-life payroll departments.


Member and non-member rate: £2,645 + VAT*

Price includes:

  • Online provision through IPP Education’s online learning platform
  • Allocation of a tutor to support you through your studies

*Prices valid until 30 June and reviewed annually.

Fees & timetables


  • Course fee: £2,645 + VAT

  • Assessment resit fee: £75 + VAT

  • Assessment retake fee: £150 + VAT (for third attempts at assessment only)

  • Course deferral fee: £150 + VAT


PSC Autumn 2024 Student Timetable


Once successfully completed you may choose to progress to the FdSc Payroll Management (UK Payroll) or remain with IPPE for further study into a Level 5 technical qualification.
  • e-learning