Coronavirus is quite a contagious disease that spreads easily from an affected person to another. It has spread so fast and wide that it has taken the entire world by surprise. In some countries, people have been kept in isolation for a long period of time thereby disrupting their normal lives and business.
Until recently, India had managed to keep the virus at bay and it was by and large unimpacted. Unfortunately, a couple of cases have now been detected and the numbers are gradually increasing.
While business or health precautions are being taken by all organisations in respect of their trade or employees, how prepared are we from a payroll perspective? Needless to say, we all acknowledge that it is a very critical process to ensure employees receive their pay or benefits on time. Anybody could get impacted with or without any prior symptom or any warning. Is your company prepared to manage the payroll process without any interruption in such an unforeseen situation? Let us look at a couple of precautions one has to take to ensure continuity of business.
Establish a cross-training of the payroll process
Payroll team members should immediately commence a cross-training program of critical activities to ensure each and every member is aware of the process and can manage a situation either independently or collectively. It would be ideal to cover the end-to-end process from a back-up perspective, but a bare minimum coverage of vital activities such as data of joiners, exited employees, statutory computation, generation of bank file and accounting reports are a must.
Remote access with connectivity and equipment
At least a couple of payroll personnel should equip themselves by setting up a remote location (either at home or a temporary office) in case of a lockdown. They should be provided with laptops, connectivity, phone links and remote access to data/servers in order to operate freely without any technical hindrances
Ensure availability of stakeholders, approvers and accounting personnel
It is also important to establish the availability of key stakeholders in such a situation such as fund approvers, payroll authorisers, accounting personnel, statutory compliance teams, etc. Banks must also be notified of any such emergency arrangements to receive electronic files from remote email ids or personal email ids in such situations
Monitor attendance reports closely to detect absenteeism on account of the virus
Payroll should take care to work closely with managers whenever they detect long gaps in the attendance report of employees to ascertain the employee’s wellbeing before taking a call to withhold their salary or not
Support any compassionate program initiatives to help employees to tide over the situation
Payroll should support any compassionate programs initiated by the organisation such as salary advance, loans or sick leave extension to employees to help them tide over any difficult situation. Additionally, if the payroll team is responsible to manage health insurance benefits of employees, they should establish a single point of contact to work very closely with the insurance company to ensure a speedy process of claims and medical support to the impacted employee or their families.
Worst case scenario
In a worst-case scenario where none of the above measures could be implemented, then a standard operating procedure is for the management to process an emergency payout by authorising their bank to release salaries as per the previous month’s approved bank file. This will provide monetary support to most employees to manage for a couple of days. Once normalcy sets in, the payroll team needs to process that month’s salary as per their scheduled process and make necessary adjustments from the emergency payouts done by the bank.
How can greytHR help and support?
The biggest advantage of greytHR software is that the employee data is secure and is available to authorised personnel from anywhere and at any given point of time. It supports remote location processing easily in such a situation. Employee data, statutory compliance, attendance/leave data, approval matrix, bank & accounting interfaces are all so interlinked that processing payroll is just a cakewalk.
Do let us know what support you need and how we can help to establish a strong HR tech back up for your organisation. Take timely precautions and be safe, or should we say ‘Abhi se shuru Karona’ 😊