The growing integration of workforce, time and absence management functionality into payroll software could put payroll professionals firmly in the spotlight if UK employees suffer a swine flu pandemic.
The Institute of Payroll Professionals has warned that, with employers already seeing an increase in the number of unauthorised absences because of swine flu, payroll is likely to be in the front line when it comes to dealing with overtime payments and providing wages for temporary cover.
Moreover, if payroll departments themselves start to suffer unauthorised absences, this could become a major headache in what are already difficult economic times, IPP warned.
Lindsay Melvin, chief executive of the institute, said: ‘Staff absence can cost employers considerable amounts of money and businesses need to put measures in place so that they can gain a true insight into absence patterns and manage them appropriately.’
Payroll professionals and HR departments needed to be fully up to speed on their company sick pay schemes and have the technology and capability to process and record payroll correctly.
Likewise, the payroll and HR department needed to be fully conversant in all areas relating to staff contracts and legislation such as statutory sick pay, the IPP said.
It was also vital companies made full use of their payroll software, Mr Melvin argued, in particular, the reporting procedures that could gauge the true size and scale of absence levels and highlight any unusual patterns.
‘This was the data that could help dictate the best interventions to counter the issues effectively, or even whether there was an issue that had to be tackled at all,’ Mr Melvin advised.