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‘The most important benefit’: NPI rolls out Declaration for Payroll

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May 8, 2023
By Todd Humber

A professional working on payroll. Photo: Adobe Stock

Payroll is easy to take for granted. Most workers in Canada rarely think about the processes, professionals, or systems behind it — the money arrives in their bank account as scheduled, and they go on with their days.

But get it wrong, and it’s an entirely different story. Employees will notice immediately, and it can create issues of distrust and impact critical areas like retention and recruitment, according to new data from the National Payroll Institute (NPI).

“Over 90% of employees said they would look for a new job if their pay was interrupted regularly, or if there were errors coming through,” said Peter Tzanetakis, president of NPI, the institute behind Canada’s payroll designations (PCP and PLP) and National Payroll Week. “They would even caution others from joining the company if that were the case.”

That’s not surprising, because payroll is “the most important benefit” that a company offers its workers, he said.


Peter Tzanetakis, president of the National Payroll Institute.

And with unemployment remaining at historic lows, and so many job vacancies across the country, payroll can be a competitive advantage for organizations, he said. People who have their pay interrupted feel stress about managing expenses, feel underappreciated, and it can take a toll on their mental health and relationship with their employer.

“You don’t want to be one of those organizations,” he said. “If employees are able to deliver payroll accurately and on-time, they should be indicating that to their employees. It’s often overlooked, and we believe at the National Payroll Institute that it should not be overlooked.”

The Declaration for Payroll

NPI has compiled what it calls the core principles required to conduct payroll professionally and turned it into a Declaration for Payroll.

They are: accuracy; timeliness; transparency; security; equity; compliance; disclosure; and professionalism. A number of organizations have already signed on, including ADP, Avanti, DLGL Technologies, Kaiser & Partners, Nethris, Payworks, Robert Half, Sensei Marketing, and Workday.

Those are all big deals when it comes to payroll and the employee experience, said Tzanetakis.

“Take transparency, for example. If something doesn’t go right, are you able to rectify it quickly? The principle here is about, whether you are a front-line employee or the CEO of a company, when it comes to your pay all employees should be treated equally.”

The declaration can be signed by any organization, and is a symbol of its commitment, he said. The signatory is often the CEO, CFO or the head of human resources. Organizations that sign are able to display NPI’s digital seal and they get access to other assets, including posters, a letter to notify employees sample social media content.

“It’s another element for employers to continue to compete in a tight labour market, and also publicly communicates an organization’s priorities to prospective employees,” said Tzanetakis. “We’re saying, ‘Why make this the best kept secret if it’s one of the most important fundamentals of your overall offering to an employee?”

The research commissioned by NPI, which surveyed 1,550 employed Canadians in February who are members of the Angus Reid Forum, found that signing the declaration could sway potential employees.

“Over half of the employees were more likely to join an employer that had signed the declaration,” he said.

Companies that sign the registration appear on NPI’s public registry, which is available at https://payroll.ca/declaration. At the time of writing, more than 120 organizations had signed on.

Key survey findings

• Nearly all (94%) of respondents agree that they would look for a new job if their pay was regularly delayed.
• Nine-in-10 (91%) agree that they would look for a new job if their pay was regularly inaccurate.
• If pay was regularly disrupted or inaccurate:
• 64 percent would trust their employer less;
• 59 percent would caution others about joining the company;
• and 51 percent would have concerns about how much their employer values them.

Respondents who have experienced payroll mistakes or delays in the past reported feeling:

• unease about their ability to manage expenses (38%);
• unappreciated by their employer (38%);
• strain on workplace relationships (29%);
• negative mental health impacts (27%);
• and a lack of productivity or disengagement at work (26%).

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