CIPP Quick Poll results: 83% of payroll professionals state that the shorter processing month in December is the biggest challenge they face in relation to the Christmas payroll run

21 September 2020

Although we are currently only in September, December will come around quickly. In recognition of the fact that payroll professionals face some substantial hurdles ahead of the Christmas payroll run, the CIPP’s Policy and Research team wanted to ask the payroll profession what they perceive to be the biggest challenge when processing the payroll in that month.

The results, unsurprisingly, highlighted the fact that the majority of payroll professionals find the shorter processing month the most tasking element of December, with 83% of respondents citing this as their main challenge. The least popular response, besides those who stated that something else gave them the biggest headache, was for Real Time Information (RTI) considerations, with 4% confirming that this challenged them most. This is, due to the fact that, when the pay date is brought forward, to pay staff ahead of Christmas day, the payroll department must ensure that they report the correct date on their Full Payment Submission (FPS). Even though the pay date is moved earlier, the contractual pay date should still be recorded on the FPS. So, if, for example, a business ordinarily pays staff on the 31st of the month, but pays them on the 18th December, the date on the FPS should remain as the 31st.

The full breakdown of the response to the question, “Although we are currently only in September, the notorious December payroll will come around quickly. What is the biggest challenge in your payroll department ahead of Christmas pay day?” is as follows:

Shorter processing month: 83%

Obtaining additional information from different departments: 7%    

Additional pay elements, and the associated tax and NI implications to be considered, e.g. Christmas bonus, Christmas gifts: 5%                                                                              

RTI considerations: 4%                                   

Other, please email [email protected] if there is something else that challenges you most about the December pay day: 1%

The 1% 'other' responses are challenged in the main by the impact that annual leave and bank holidays have on the authorisation process i.e. managers taking leave even though there isn't a widespread company shut down. The renewal of benefit years in January also adds significantly to the December workload. Thank you to all members who responded to this quick poll, if you have a challenge that isn't already covered please let us know by email to [email protected]


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