Payroll graphic Pivotal HR Solutions Blog

Payroll team members take 9.6 days per year off; contingency emergency planning for short-term payroll outsource support

According to Statscan, leave in the workplace is increasing, averaging 9.6 days per employee per year. What do you do, though, if that person who has an abrupt need for emergency or sick leave is your key payroll team member? What do you do when that key payroll person is suddenly ill without notice at a crucial time? Or, there’s sudden need for bereavement leave? Early labour in maternity? Don’t forget family emergency leave; each employee in Canada averages 1.7 days for family leave — often unexpected and urgent. [2017 Statscan data] You may think it will never happen, but your key payroll person may resign suddenly.


Stats Can absences days per year due to illness or emergency Pivotal HR Solutions Blog
Statscan data to 2017: number of days on average each Canadian employee is absent due to illness or emegency.

Liability for payroll management: even in an emergency

Whatever the reason, the rest of your team needs responsible payroll management. Whether it’s interim short-term payroll support or “emergency” support, one of the high-demand areas of outsourced payroll is highly-trained payroll specialists to fill in during unexpected circumstances. The liabilities of payroll services mistakes are too costly:

  • dissatisfied team members if payroll is late or incorrect
  • financial liabilities for incorrect information
  • fine for late remitting: 3% of amount for 1-3 days late; 5% if 4-5 days late; 7% if 6-7 days late, 10% if more than 7 days
  • different penalties for failure to deduct, failure to pay, failure to complete forms, failure to maintain adequate records.


Overworked worker Pivotal HR Solutions Blog
If a payroll manager or person leaves suddenly for emergency, do you have immediate contigency services to take the load?


Aside from emergencies, your payroll manager or team member may resign unexpectedly, or you may be forced to terminate. Often, it takes a long time to permanently replace a valued team member.

Bruce Bowser, President and CEO at AMJ Campbell was in that very situation:

“We turned to Pivotal Payroll when our own payroll person resigned and only gave us one week’s notice. We had almost 500 employees in several locations and Pivotal stepped in immediately and we did not miss a paycheque or remittance. That was eight years ago and they have been processing our payroll ever since.”

To read more about “Emergency” Payroll Coverage see>>


What to look for in Emergency Contingency Coverage

There are some important factors to consider. If you need uninterrupted service, you’ll need an outsource who:

  • is an expert in short-term payroll, proven by track record
  • an outsource service who can immediately work with your payroll platform, and your existing software
  • expertise in full pay cycle
  • acts and behaves as an extension to your internal team

In normal outsourcing scenarios, you have time for due diligence and careful review. It’s important, though, to line up your “emergency” backup support now — either as a contingency or in preparation for a future planned leave, such as maternity.

Not all payroll management services, however, can handle the emergency bridge services. For most services, it takes time to get up to speed and into the system. For a contingency or emergency backup outsource, there are only a handful of viable services. [Hint: Pivotal, is one of them.]

Try this: using Google, focusing on your region, enter something like: “outsource payroll short-term interim.” We’re proud to say Pivotal is the top non-ad result. Or, “outsource emergency payroll support” — again Pivotal is the top Ontario result. When searching for emergency help, make sure your region is part of the criteria; Ontario, for example, has far different rules for payroll than other jurisdictions.

Suggestion: reach out to a service such as Pivotal now, to be ready with your contingency. To contact us, please use our contact form. [Bottom of this feature, or see our contact form>>]

Stats Can absences Canada and provinces due to family responsibility Pivotal HR Solutions Blog
Statscan data on absence days average per year per employee based solely on family responsibility.

Risks of temporary help

Bringing in a temporary resource to help with payroll is fraught with risk. There’s no cross-over training in an emergency — no calm pass-off. The incoming emergency team will have to be ready to go instantly. However, getting up to speed immediately in an emergency situation can only be reasonably expected from a group of highly-trained payroll specialists, such as Pivotal Payroll.

Here’s a reality check. With all good intentions, most businesses tend to cover most of their contingencies. Payroll services, however, is often overlooked.

Although it’s as crucial a function as any in the company, human resource managers and business owners sometimes overlook their own team. How many business managers plan for their own emergency leave? Very few. Based on past calls into Pivotal, many companies also overlook key-person payroll emergency planning.

Don’t think it will happen?

Statistically, it happens frequently. Payroll managers and team members are just as susceptible to illness and emergency as other team members, including:

  • sudden illness
  • accident
  • family emergency
  • sudden bereavement
  • earlier-than-planned parental leave
  • abrupt departure due to resignation or termination

In a longer-term scenario, where you are replacing a payroll person, you should plan for and expect a longer-than-expected recruitment cycle in today’s competitive HR market.

What to do in an emergency

Hopefully, you read this long before any unexpected situation and have your contingency outsource ready. Let them know you are activating them as soon as possible.

If you are reading this now because of a sudden unplanned emergency — and you have no contingency outsource — your first call should be to the experts in this area: Pivotal Payroll Management Services.

Would you like to discuss setting up an emergency or contingency short-term payroll service? Contact us now:

Payroll Contact

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