If you’re like most South Africans, your favourite day of the month must be payday! Bills get paid, the freezer gets filled and, budget permitting, a few luxuries may be indulged in. But have you stopped to think about the many payroll professionals who make payday possible?
Yet, according to Lavine Haripersad and Cathie Webb, both Executives of the South African Payroll Association (SAPA), there’s so much more that payroll does. “It’s time to recognise the many contributions payroll professionals make,” says Webb. “That’s why, on 15th August, SAPA launched its annual National Payroll Week, a campaign already celebrated religiously in the UK, US and Canada.”
The initiative will raise awareness of the important role payroll plays in the economy, business and people’s lives. This year, Payroll Week falls over the dates of SAPA’s national conference: 10th - 11th September for the Johannesburg event, 13th September in Cape Town and 14th September in Durban. The official slogan for National Payroll Week South Africa is “We Pay it Forward.”
“In most companies, payroll is seen as a back-office support service,” says Haripersad. “During National Payroll Week, we aim to celebrate and highlight how payroll professionals benefit their companies or the clients they service.”
A good payroll team motivates workers to be productive because they know they will be promptly and correctly remunerated for their labour. They also offer a human face to employees who need advice on the complicated calculations that determine their take-home pay. Plus, through voluntary deductions, payroll helps employees manage their money and reach their financial goals. In addition, they keep their organisations compliant with hundreds of ever-changing laws regulating income, taxes, information protection and more.
At the same time, payroll acts as a strategic advisor, providing management with information to better plan their workforce needs and control labour costs. Then there’s the economy. “A little-known fact is that payroll contributes 37.2% of the country’s total revenues,” reports Webb. It also ensures that financial planning services, like medical aids and retirement funds, are paid on time. However, that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Other payroll experts, like consultants, service providers or software producers, all contribute to a system that works reliably every month.
Celebrating the week
Making National Payroll Week successful starts with the payroll professional. “We’re asking our members to get creative and find unique ways to draw attention to the occasion and their services,” says Webb. They can hang posters on department notice boards, have colourful balloons in the office, or send electronic flyers announcing the event to everyone they deal with. To build awareness, they should share their photos or fun facts on social sites like Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn, being sure to use the hashtag #PayrollWeekSA.
They can also reach out to local news reporters, radio, bloggers or electronic news outlets to highlight their celebrations. Finally, National Payroll Week is about education, so they could hold workshops to help employees understand how their payslips are calculated.
SAPA asks organisations and the public to support payroll during National Payroll Week. “And next time you open your payslip,” asks Haripersad, “please remember the hardworking people behind it.”
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