There’s no perfect job in this world, but I’m convinced that the job of payroll has to be one of the most stressful. In HR we are responsible for attracting, developing and retaining a talented workforce—it’s pretty hard doing that if we don’t pay our employees. The payroll department often takes a back seat to everyone’s initiatives and it’s time a thankless department got their voice heard. I’ve been working with my payroll friends to formulate the list of the top 10 things that annoy your payroll person.
1. Submitting timesheets late. Payroll is all about deadlines. Airplanes don’t wait for you and neither should your payroll person. If you expect to get paid on-time each pay period, you need to do your part in turning in your timesheets when they are due.
2. Closing your bank account without telling payroll. Not telling payroll that your bank has changed can result in a delay of your paycheck. It takes time to get the money back from the closed account and most companies won’t reissue pay to you until the money is back in the company’s bank account.
3. Always having punch corrections. If you’re constantly on your payroll person’s list of people who have missed punches, it is time to invest in a string around your finger. Most payroll processors don’t own crystal balls to help them guess when you got back from lunch last Wednesday.
4. Submitting sloppy, incorrect or incomplete tax forms. If the tax form you are filling out is complicated, talk to a Tax Advisor. If the form is incomplete or illegible, payroll is required to set you up as single and zero which is the highest exemption for federal income tax.
5. Requesting your check early. Sure, you might be tight for cash before Friday’s paycheck but your payroll processor has to follow constructive receipt laws which relate to when your employer pays its taxes. If they pay you early and pay Uncle Sam based on the scheduled check date, they could be in hot water.
6. Being silent about overpayment. While the board game Monopoly might have a card called “Bank Error in your Favor”, no such card exists for you and your paycheck. If you get overpaid you shouldn’t go out and buy a Ferrari—always contact your payroll person promptly to inform them of the overpayment.
7. Waiting until the last minute to say your PTO balance is wrong. You should be keeping track of your PTO accrual throughout the year—not waiting until the end of the year to challenge the accrual. Year-end is always the busiest time for payroll and calculating PTO accruals by check date can be a laborious process.
8. Turning in pay changes late. This one falls on you, managers. If you delay in issuing a pay increase until payroll is already processing, then your payroll person is going to have to calculate and issue retroactive pay.
9. Changing Address for W-2 Purposes in January after payroll is closed. The address you have on the last payroll of December is the one your W-2 is going to. Don’t expect that you can change your address the week before the forms are sent out.
10. Being impatient with verifications of Employment. Don’t expect that the world stops turning for the payroll person once your car dealer faxes over a request of your wages. These verifications are usually processed on a first come, first serve basis and being considerate and patient is always the best policy.
Remember, payroll is the department who ensures you’ve got money to back up that debit card—keep them happy.