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Payroll Administrator (ST0073)

Aimed at payroll professionals working in the day-to-day processing of payroll either in-house or as a bureau service. Payroll Administrator apprentices are typically either new to the role, are in post but lack comprehensive experience across all fields of the role or are experienced but lack formal qualifications. This apprenticeship covers all key areas of payroll processing including: foundations of payroll, pensions, technical aspects, (such as manual calculations of build-to-gross and gross-to-net pay), regulations and compliance, systems and processes.

Course summary

This occupation is found in organisations delivering in-house payroll or in a payroll bureau, bookkeeping or accounting practice providing payroll as a service. The payroll administrator may sit within another business function, for example HR or Finance or may be a stand-alone role. The role may exist in the private, public or voluntary sector for businesses of varying sizes. The role delivers a customer service to employers, clients and those they employ, so both business and customer awareness are essential.

The broad purpose of the occupation is to process the payroll for an organisation. The payroll administrator may carry out payroll tasks for their employer or on behalf of another organisation. Payroll tasks must be carried out in compliance with statutory regulations, contractual obligations and internal controls. Payroll processing tasks will be carried out using software, but a payroll administrator must also be able to perform these calculations manually. Payroll is not a regulated profession and there is no need for any professional body membership to undertake the role.

In their daily work, a payroll administrator carries out processing and changes that will result in the calculation of net pay.  This also includes changes as a result of life events.  The role requires interaction with internal and external stakeholders. These may include HR and Finance teams, clients and Government departments such as HMRC and The Pensions Regulator. A payroll administrator may work within a team, often reporting to a team leader or a manager. They may have sole admin responsibilities, for example when working in a bookkeeping practice. The work is often highly pressured to deliver accurate outputs to tight timescales such as weekly or monthly payroll outputs. To deliver a high-quality service under pressure, collaboration with colleagues and an ability to prioritise and be flexible is vital.

A payroll administrator will handle payroll queries and complaints from employees and other stakeholders. They may also be responsible for the accurate and timely completion of routine and non-routine payroll-related calculations and other information. Payroll is a constantly changing landscape, so payroll administrators must keep up to date with key changes affecting payroll. This can include changes to legislation, guidance, or payroll software.

Our Employers – Meet Tracy

We sat down with Tracy Jerram, from Cox & Co. Payroll Solutions in Bristol, to hear her experiences of the contribution she sees her apprentices making to their business.

“So for us, it’s about being able to benchmark and also it’s about succession planning. So it’s making sure […] that we’re able to bring new recruits up through payroll and we know that they’ve gone through that apprenticeship program, that we know that they have got the knowledge, skills and behaviours that we would expect payroll professionals to have.”

Why choose Leicestershire County Council as your provider?

Since 2018 Leicestershire County Council have supported apprentices from a wide variety of organisations to complete their Level 3 Payroll Administrator qualifications.

From local authorities, through to in-house and bureau payroll organisations, we support our apprentices and our employers to achieve the very best outcomes possible. Leicestershire County Council is rated ‘Excellent’ by our employers with an 80% achievement rate for our payroll programme (exceeding the national average).

Key information about the standards:

  • Level: 3
  • Typical duration to gateway: 18 months
  • Typical EPA period: 4 months
  • Maximum funding: £10000
  • Route: Legal, finance and accounting
  • Date updated: 31/03/2023
  • EQA provider: Ofqual

What to do if you are interested in an apprenticeship qualification?

For apprentices:

Apprenticeship qualifications are directly linked to work and employment roles and, as such, are for those who are currently in work or are recruited to a specific apprenticeship vacancy.

If you are in work and interested in using an apprenticeship qualification to enhance your existing skills and knowledge, or progress in your career, speak to your line manager about apprenticeship opportunities that your employer may have.

If you are looking for work and need support to find an apprenticeship role,  book an appointment with one of our Learning and Work Advisors who can provide free, 1:1, impartial advice. Alternatively you can search national apprenticeship vacancies in your area via the ‘Find an apprenticeship‘ site.

For employers:

If you are looking to find an apprenticeship provider to deliver this, or any other apprenticeship standard, visit the website where you can search for 100s of providers including local authority and national providers.

If you would like more information on the apprenticeship standards offered by Leicestershire County Council,

  • Call us on freephone 0800 988 0308 to speak to a member of the Work Based Learning Team
  • Email the team directly at
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