National Payroll Week: Why ‘pay yourself first’ is top priority
Payroll 4 minute read

National Payroll Week: Why ‘pay yourself first’ is top priority

Rise | September 5, 2017

Payroll professionals work behind the scenes for everyone’s benefit. In their role, they are literally paying it forward—working to ensure employees are paid and compensated for their work. They are often the unsung heroes of their organization; making sure that payroll goes through each and every month is both a financial and a moral responsibility for any employer.

National Payroll Week, launched by the Canadian Payroll Association (CPA), is recognized in Canada from September 11th to the 15th. The week was established to recognize and celebrate the efforts of professional payroll practitioners in the industry, from the payroll manager to the payroll administrator, whose responsibilities include contributing, collecting, reporting, and depositing payroll. Without their commitment to accuracy in processing the payroll system, workers would not get paid on time. Additionally, the week highlights the importance of payroll to the overall operation of the workforce.

Did you know?

Payroll specialists provide service to approximately 1.5 million employers in Canada while maintaining total compliance with over 190 federal and provincial regulatory requirements. They achieve this responsibility on two fronts:

  • By ensuring the accurate and timely processing of payments to employees, including:
  • $928 billion in annual wages and taxable benefits
  • $313 billion in statutory remittances
  • $177 billion in health and retirement benefits
  • By ensuring the administration of important documents such as:
  • 35 million T4s and T4As
  • 7 million RL-1s

Each year, the CPA produces an Employee Research Survey with statistics that examine trends in savings, spendings, debt, and retirement planning as indicated by responses from workers across Canada. It is considered an economic indicator of the financial health of working Canadians.

According to the CPA’s 2016 survey findings, 50% of Canadians are living from pay cheque to pay cheque. Many workers in Canada, and particularly in British Columbia, are barely making ends meet. Nearly half of Canadians (48% nationally and 53% in BC) reported that if their paycheque was delayed by one week, it would be difficult to fulfill their financial obligations. Furthermore, approximately one-quarter of Canadians (24% nationally and 27% in BC) say they likely could not come up with $2,000 in emergency funds within the next month.”

Sun Life Financial drew the same conclusions on Canadian workers’ challenges with savings with their research findings on Canadians' attitudes towards group benefits. Currently, “nearly half nationally (47%) and more than half in BC (52%) save just 5% or less of their earnings.” As a whole, Canada is currently undergoing the largest retirement savings shortfall on record. According to Sun Life Financial, Canadians are struggling with saving adequately enough to reach their retirement savings goals, with “76% nationally and 80% in BC saying they have saved only one-quarter or less of what they feel they will need.”

In regards to savings practices, Canadians need and would greatly benefit from the support of their employers with regards to implementing financial planning initiatives within their organizations. In Sun Life Financial’s survey findings, 70% of Canadian workers believe that employers should have a responsibility in supporting the financial health of their employees.

Employers that prioritize the importance of a financial savings program as an integral part of their company’s compensation offerings have an opportunity to demonstrate interest in their employees’ wellness and to improve overall employee engagement. As such, supporting security and stability for their staff’s financial situations is an important factor of the employee experience and an important consideration in employee retention.

With that in mind, payroll practitioners play a role in supporting the financial well-being and success of their organization’s employees. To achieve this, payroll professionals can help working Canadians take control of their financial future by setting up automatic payroll deductions, in which 10% of net earnings are automatically directed into a savings account or retirement program each pay period. The CPA’s National Payroll Week campaign message of “pay yourself first” is a tangible solution for today that contributes to a financially secure tomorrow.

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