Written by Stewart Waddell on July 13, 2021
Planning ahead for September

We have already seen the longest day of the year fly by and are quickly moving through the summer months, July sees us half way through 2021. As the COVID-19 restrictions begin to lift and we are able to do more of the things we enjoy with the people we love, the weeks will soon pickup pace again.

A day in the life of a payroll professional already seems to fly through the working month with us being so used to working towards BACS deadlines and paydays across the weeks.

Ensuring payrolls run smoothly with plenty of planning is key to managing this busy period, especially within the complex area of Education payroll. Our payroll teams are always thinking ahead and during July and August we like to get ahead of the game ready for the next big process month, which in education happens to be September in line with the start of the new School year.

With this in mind, these are the key things that need to be considered ahead of September. For our clients we ask that you provide this information as soon as you are able to, and for non Dataplan clients we suggest incorporating these key elements as part of your planning process.

Keeping on top of new starters

We find that most Education payrolls have a number of starters and leavers over the summer period, but September sees the biggest increase in new starters when employees move to new Schools or transfer across Multi-academy trusts.

To keep abreast of this our payroll heroes like to ensure that we have all new starter information well in advance of September, most schools are already aware of new starters earlier in the Summer so ensuring that we have that starter information is key.

For our clients, we can add new starters to our payroll software well in advance rather than waiting for the pay period that they join. We recommend that clients send their new starter information as early as possible via VERA, and for non Dataplan clients we recommend that this information is passed on to your payroll team in a timely fashion.

Pay rises need careful planning

Most Education payrolls see a pay scale change during the month of September or October, and therefore planning to ensure these payments are processed for these periods is key to avoiding delays.

At Dataplan we believe that gaining a deep understanding of the complexities or your organisation’s payroll is key, so speaking with our education sector clients to learn more about when the pay rises will be held, in some cases they are delayed a month or two depending on meetings with school Governors, is already part of our process.

Again planning and making us aware when you want these changes to take place is very important to ensure employees are paid what they are expecting along with any backpay calculations if due. If Dataplan does not process your payroll then we recommend communicating payrises and backdating requirements with your payroll team as soon as possible.

Electronic is the most efficient and environmentally friendly method

For efficiency electronic is always the fastest way of delivering pay information to employees. Our ePayslips are a great way to quickly share pay information in a secure way. Our ePayslips platform is currently used by well over 700 schools allowing their employees to review payslips, P45s, salary statements and year end P60s.

Employees can log-in via a mobile or web app depending on their preferences, allowing them to easily access information and perform self-service tasks 24/7. Additionally, ePayslips are a great way to reduce your carbon footprint by eliminating the impact of printing and posting pay information.

Our ePayslips are available to existing Dataplan payroll clients free of charge, or you can purchase them as a standalone service if you are satisfied with your current payroll processing team. Now is a great time to make the move from paper to ePayslips ahead of the September rush.

The takeaways

If you aren’t already in the process of planning for September we suggest starting sooner rather than later to avoid the additional rushing and stress of what is an already busy time of year in the Education sector.

Things key things for you to consider are:

  • Do I have new starters whose information I can share with the payroll teams early?
  • Do I know when the pay increases are approved by the School to share key dates with the payroll teams?
  • Can I give my employees better and quick access to pay information online using ePayslips?

Stewart Waddell is Operations Director at Dataplan and is responsible for ensuring the efficiency and future-proofing of Dataplan’s systems and processes. Stewart has an encyclopaedic knowledge of payroll and has worked in the industry since 1995. There isn’t much that Stewart hasn’t seen before!

Stewart is a Member of the Chartered Institute of Payroll Professionals.