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Our new Global Payroll Toolkit report profiles the type of support schemes available worldwide, key issues and pitfalls in applying them and questions Global Payroll Managers should be asking in controlling their countries’ responses. As attention turns to the legality and probity of responses and what happens next, this is a key read for payroll teams.

As economies around the world struggle with the impact of Covid-19, payroll has been playing a pivotal role in interpreting new and existing regulations, implementing government schemes and adapting company terms and conditions. But how does a Global or Regional Payroll Manager ensure that these rapidly-evolving initiatives are successfully – and correctly – implemented?

This report highlights a selection of common Covid-related schemes, drawn from a range of countries in Europe, Asia and the Americas, and identifies some of the key issues to address in applying them as well as the common pitfalls. In addition, it looks at some of the likely next phase of initiatives – including the potential for a second wave of lockdowns – and suggests tactics global payroll managers can adopt. Topics include:

  • Understanding the key characteristics and application of job retention and short time working schemes in a fluid regulatory environment. While changes to labor law are typically slow moving, wage subsidy schemes in many countries are so new and have been put in place so quickly that some of the technicalities are still being worked out, creating compliance risks for payroll teams. Penalties for mistakes and fraud range from fines to prison sentences
  • Dealing with the surprisingly detailed regulations involved in setting up employees to work from home
  • Assessing the intersection of new schemes with existing leave policies and the extension of sick pay to those self-isolating, following the principle that no employee should be disadvantaged for doing the right thing
  • Reviewing the impact of the relaxation of previously restrictive rules around sick pay, doctors’ notes and the movement of consultations online
  • The importance of determining eligibility and following the correct application process when dealing with exemptions and extensions of time to pay deadlines for tax and social security payments
  • Getting comfortable working in a fragmented environment where countries open up their economies at different paces, and preparing for a potential second wave of lockdowns

No global payroll manager can be expected to be familiar with the details of every initiative underway in all of the countries they operate in. But as attention turns to the legality and probity of companies’ Covid responses, good governance over payroll’s activities - knowing the right questions to ask and processes to follow – is essential.

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Cost-effective Self-help Tools

Coronavirus is forcing major strategic and tactical changes for global payroll managers, from corporate downsizing to rethinking global projects. Our Pivoting service helps you refine and validate your approach, building on the experience and expertise of our network of global payroll managers and consultants.

Coronavirus is forcing major strategic and tactical changes for global payroll managers, from corporate downsizing to rethinking global projects. Our Pivoting service helps you refine and validate your approach, building on the experience and expertise of our network of global payroll managers and consultants.

It consists of two parts:

  • We will conduct a complimentary 45-minute office hours session with your team to  understand your set-up and the issues you face. It may for example be that:
    • The company is in the middle of a global payroll consolidation project and needs to scale back or reposition the project 
    • The global payroll team is being asked to downsize and needs help to understand where it can best allocate resources 
    • The company has 30 vendors in multiple countries and want to develop a contingency planning program across the countries to build back-up plans in case of economic distress 
  • At the end of the session, our consultants will come back with either:
    • A short follow-up consulting session, usually no more than 1 hour initially, to help resolve your problem or
    • For more complex problems, a proposal for a program of pragmatic steps which we can assist with 

Responding to the pandemic situation, our consulting tools are now delivered virtually, with Webster Buchanan taking on the role of trusted advisor.


Our Pragmatic Approach

Webster Buchanan's approach to global payroll projects is built on three principles:

  • Practical, hands-on experience Our methodologies are based on the real-life experiences of senior multi-country payroll practitioners, and our consulting team includes some of the most experienced practitioners in this sector
  • In-depth market analysis Our market research team, which supports the consulting business, has carried out extensive research in this sector since 2002
  • Comprehensive but pragmatic approach Our approach to international HR and multi-country payroll initiatives enables us to accelerate key aspects of the cycle while ensuring that each phase is built on a sound, solid footing

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