INBOX : Merry Christmas mix-up

This year, all the Christmas and New Year public holidays fall on weekend days, which creates extra problems for payroll offices across the nation. Jo Smith of the TimeFiler online staff management system says many employers found it hard last year with two of the four holidays falling on weekend, but this year they have even more hurdles to overcome.
“Public holidays tend to significantly add to the workload in payroll offices across the country when calculating employees’ pay,” she says. “There is so much to consider – is today ‘normal’ day of work for the employee and what is ‘normal’ day anyway?”
Smith says Section 45 of the Holidays Act 2003 contains explicit instructions on transferring public holidays over the festive period. For normal Monday to Friday workers this won’t pose too much of problem because the holidays are simply transferred to the following Monday and Tuesday, says Smith, but for employees working variable hours and days, payroll is trickier. One of the potential pitfalls is determining what exactly is “normal, or working” day for the employee.
Smith says many companies choose this time to swap older payroll systems for electronic timesheets that automatically calculate all the complexities of the Christmas leave entitlements.
She says Google search on timesheet software will offer hundreds of results for good systems, most of them extremely affordable. Some have been built with New Zealand conditions in mind. But don’t expect to make significant savings by choosing one of these products – unless your organisation’s pay requirements are very basic, she warns.
She recommends using the threat of this Christmas’ payroll chaos as chance to review your organisation’s HR, payroll and financial systems.

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