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HR Department's access to Payslips

HR Departments access to Payslips

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We have been advised by the Payroll Manager within our organisation that our HR departments' team members should not be allowed access to our employee's payslips. I believe his concerns relate to the confidnetiality of Court Orders and such like. Can someone please confirm whether or not this is the case as we currently use the payslip viewing facility within our integrated HR & Payroll system when dealing with employee's pay queries.
Many thanks.
Sandra Coburn

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By User deleted
11th Aug 2005 14:47

Whereabouts in the organisation an employee works is irrelevant to this question. What matters are the duties they perform.

Employees are entitled to access to whatever information is needed to enable them to fulfil their duties. So, if a person’s responsibilities include resolving payslip queries it’s OK for that person to have access to the payroll details, wherever in the organisation they happen to work. This is common sense, really, since they could hardly be effective at resolving payslip queries without access to the payroll information.

On the other hand, blanket access should not be given just because a person works in HR (or payroll for that matter). If an HR officer’s duties are confined to dealing with recruitment, and they never help with payslip queries, they would not be entitled to see the payroll data. Similarly, a payroll officer who only ever works on the weekly payroll shouldn’t have access to the details relating to monthly-paid employees.

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By jayne stutt
16th Aug 2005 09:46

I am responsible, within the Personnel team, for authorising all changes to pay and inputting these into the integrated personnel & payroll system. This is basic career and salary information.

However, payroll are then responsible for SSP calculations, additional hours, court orders etc and this section of the HR system has never been accessible to Personnel. Likewise, we have never had access to payslip info.

If a member of staff has a pay query then they contact Personnel, who are able to deal with their basic queries. If it becomes more involved i.e. tax codes, deductions from salary etc then we pass the call through to our Payroll officer.

I have never needed access to payslip information and feel that Payroll are the best informed to be able to give information on this subject anyway.

If your Payroll team are happy to deal with the queries then I'm not sure I understand why you would need to continue to access this information?

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By Nkellingley
10th Aug 2005 19:25

Really tricky, I agree with your Payroll Manager that there are real issues with all the HR department having access to staff pay details.

But I see the point about helping staff resolve payroll queries.

I think that what you need is a data management policy regarding confidential data - that all your staff, not just HR, are aware of. The policy should lay out what personal data can be accessed by who and why. And also the penalties for breaching both DPA and confidentiality. Then you should consult all staff and your HR guys to make sure that this is fair and equitable.

If you do this then there should be no issues. But if there are major objections to this approach you might want to consider reducing access to payroll data to only 1 senior member of the HR team and allowing them to handle all pay queries but again you should have a data handling policy in place detailing this.

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By User deleted
10th Aug 2005 19:56

I have been in HR consulting for the past 8 or 9 years but prior to that was in corporate HR life for 20 plus years. I had access to payroll information in every role I held - in fact, in each of the companies I worked, it was an audit requirement that HR had to check every detail on a random sample of payslips each month to guard against collusion within payroll/accounts. We had to check payslips against timesheets/authorisations etc that SSP rules, holidays , overtime, etc were being correctly calculated and paid. The audit requirement was that HR authorised any changes to salary etc which were then processed by accounts/payroll - the latter were not allowed to iniatiate payments (but they did calculate SSP rate, SMP, etc - hence the need for an external check on calcualtions).
It seems very strange to me that HR should be denied access to payroll data, which is likley to be far less sensitive than other information at their disposal.
I personally would challenge it very strongly.


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