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How the upcoming bank holidays will affect payroll


When pay dates are brought forward around bank holidays there are implications for payroll teams to consider.

27th Mar 2024
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Remember the days when a pay cheque was actually a cheque, and a wage packet was cash in an envelope? Oh, how times have changed.

These days, automated payments are at the centre of payroll processing, with the bankers’ automated clearing system (Bacs), the regulated payment system run by Bacs Payment Schemes Limited (now, being the most common way money is sent between bank accounts.

The CIPP’s Payslip Statistics Report 2023 shows that 88% of respondents use Bacs direct credit as their or their clients’ payment method of choice, reducing admin burden and associated costs for payroll departments.

image of payment methods | accountingweb

As we near the Easter holidays, and payroll year end; it’s time to consider the processing timescales for the coming year. This is the ideal opportunity to get prepared for the tax year ahead for your or your clients’ payrolls. 

With Easter falling at the end of March this year, Good Friday lands on the last working day of the month, giving some payroll departments a day less for payments to be sent to Bacs. This makes it more likely to impact those operating monthly payrolls, which we also know is the most popular payroll frequency. 

The Bacs payment system processing calendar 2024 is a valuable tool to help you plan your payroll calendar to ensure you’re not caught short and to avoid missing any important processing dates over busy holiday periods. 

The calendar highlights all non-processing days including the bank holidays, so it’s easy to identify the latest submission date for your payments to be sent.

Pay days brought forward 

If a pay day is brought forward because it falls on a weekend, bank holiday or pay is made early at Christmas and New Year, the full payment submission (FPS) should continue to show the normal, contractual pay date. The main reason for this is the impact the date has on employees who claim universal credit.

The CIPP’s Payslip Statistics Report 2024 to be released in May, shows compliance has increased by over 10% in this area, with more people reporting the contractual pay date on the FPS, when paying early.

Replies (3)

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By FactChecker
28th Mar 2024 00:49

What is the graphic above, from the CIPP’s Payslip Statistics Report 2023, intended to show?
Are rather a lot of employers using multiple payment methods?
And if so doesn't that diminish any claimed 'market share' by one or other channel?

However, none of that should obscure the key message that if a pay day in a pay period is brought forward because it falls on a weekend or bank holiday, the FPS for that period should nevertheless show the contractual pay date.

It's hardly surprising if there's less than 100% compliance with this by employers ... after all it only took HMRC the best part of a decade to stop flip-flopping back and forth (often with concurrent yet contradictory guidance) before finally settling on this approach a couple of years back.

Thanks (2)
Replying to FactChecker:
By Paul Crowley
28th Mar 2024 15:45

HMRC decided to use a system with known, planned inconsistencies to operate a different system.
So they decided to change the way the system is operated to fit something it was not designed for.
Such an HMRC thing to do.

Thanks (1)
Replying to FactChecker:
By Paul Crowley
28th Mar 2024 15:48

My guess on the chart?
Some people use more than one method, so get counted twice, which is what you said. But still fair for BACS to claim that 88% of employers use BACS, just not exclusively.

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