Payday Podcast Special: COVID-19 and The Impact on Global Payroll

Understandably, the focus of the world’s media attention in recent weeks, the COVID-19 pandemic is also the subject of our latest Payday Podcast. At a time of unprecedented challenge for the payroll community (and indeed the wider world), CloudPay’s David Barak brings together a panel of global payroll leaders to discuss the key issues raised by the outbreak. Offering their unique insights from around the globe are Carlos Maroto, Payroll Director for the AMERICAs Region, John Pearce, SVP of Payroll and Treasury, and Rosalind Guy, EMEA Senior Program Manager.

Through the 45-minute podcast, the panel tackles a trio of core themes around the pandemic and its effects on payroll - sharing their thoughts and experiences on ‘Making Virtual Connections’, ‘Staying Current on Legislative Changes’ and ‘Building a Resilient Team’. The panel also explores the likely long-term payroll impacts of the Coronavirus, and how businesses in the middle of a global payroll implementation are responding to the crisis.


Theme One: The Importance of Making Virtual Connections

Given its devastating effect on people’s livelihoods and finances, the COVID-19 outbreak has served to highlight once and for all the fundamental role that payroll plays. Paying people accurately and on time has perhaps never been more important - but payroll professionals face the challenge of delivering this critical service against a backdrop of hindrance and upheaval.

Like most other business functions, payroll teams are working away from the office and away from each other, every bit as isolated and anxious as the employees they serve. So while remote access and technological capabilities are essential to help payroll fulfil its duty, the podcast panel is quick to point out that the engagement and welfare of those working from home is equally crucial.

Carlos illustrates the importance of using video to engage teams, partners and clients, while imploring managers to converse on a personal, human level beyond the usual work discussions. The group explores how increased informal interactions can help bring much-needed levity to the situation too.

As well as interesting insights on the new world of video conferencing (including a fascinating take on the intrusion of four-legged friends), the panel also discusses some of the more practical challenges of processing payroll from home. While most payslips and forms can be sent remotely, some regions do still rely heavily on in-person activity - with examples in Venezuela and Denmark forcing payroll to “think outside the box”.

Theme Two: Staying Current on Legislative Changes

With seemingly every major country announcing new emergency tax and employment legislation since the pandemic began, perhaps the greatest challenge for global payroll is to keep up with the fast-moving legal landscape.

John points out the importance of the Global Payroll Provider here, particularly for companies who may not have local HR on the ground with easy access to information. In the podcast, you’ll hear some of the initiatives CloudPay has put in place to help counter these challenges for customers in certain regions.

The panel also looks at examples of new legislation across the world, and probes the impacts on payroll. Where many are mandatory - often causing last minute disruption to payrolls that are ready to run - others are optional, giving organizations the decision of whether to adopt certain measures now (such as deferring tax payments) or maintain the status quo to avoid increased liability later down the line.

Theme Three: Building a Resilient Team

Last but not least, the panel looks at how Global Payroll teams can learn from these unprecedented times, to go from “surviving to thriving”. What can businesses and individuals do to emerge stronger on the other side?

“It’s a good time to embrace the wider payroll network” says John. “LinkedIn is a great example, there’s a lot of good hints and tips - from ‘how can I optimize myself working at home’ to ‘what’s going on in a certain country’. There’s a great amount of collaboration happening on those platforms right now, and it’s good to see”.

Collective learning, the panel agreed, will see companies emerge with stronger Business Continuity Plans around payroll vendors, HR vendors and infrastructure. Once-theoretical plans have now had their first real test, and many companies will have uncovered significant gaps. Filling those gaps, suggests Rosalind, may involve companies seeking to increase automation in payroll, ensuring processes can continue when key staff are away.

More Key Issues Discussed In The Podcast…

As well as all of the above, the podcast panel cover:

  • Disruption to new payroll implementations - Why most businesses are still pressing ahead with their payroll transformation programs despite COVID-19.
  • The potential impact on change management - Why the pandemic could see a softening of risk aversion in payroll.
  • Advice on supplementary pay-runs - How avoiding off-cycle runs could help to mitigate business disruption.
  • The response of global organizations - Why global companies have responded more quickly to the crisis than many domestic businesses.


For all this and more, listen to the podcast now >>