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Payroll Assistant Manager (ST0869)

Aimed at experienced or qualified payroll managers who are responsible for leading a team of payroll administrators. They may be new to this role, are being promoted, or have been in post for some time but require formalised education in the subject. This apprenticeship typically lasts for 24 months and covers: principles of payroll, leading and developing payroll functions (including business change), legislation, managing payroll teams, industry models, risks and opportunities, developing procedures, case law and process improvements.

Course summary

This occupation is found in all sectors and industries, including the private and the public sector. This ranges from small organisations through to large global corporations.

The Payroll Assistant Manager may work in a team as part of a large payroll department belonging to their own organisation, where they are given an area of responsibility. They may also work in small firms where they might be the most senior technical payroll lead. Some organisations outsource their payroll function to an external provider, so the occupation is also found in specialist payroll bureaux, agencies, and in arrangements known as an umbrella function. Payroll Assistant Managers could be responsible for delivering contracts with one or more clients who outsource their payroll responsibilities.

The broad purpose of the occupation is to ensure that the employer’s workforce is paid on time and accurately in accordance with worker contractual and United Kingdom regulatory/statutory obligations. Working compliantly and in line with best practices are therefore essential features of the occupation.

The Payroll Assistant Manager might typically achieve this by leading a team of junior Payroll Administrators, overseeing their work while working on the most complex cases themselves, such as expenses and benefits calculations. The extent to which the Payroll Assistant Manager will directly calculate complex payroll cases will often depend on the size of their organisation or their client’s organisation.

In addition, Payroll Assistant Managers are responsible for bringing a high level of technical expertise to an organisation. This is often in a supporting or advisory capacity, and so the Payroll Assistant Manager must keep up to date with key changes affecting payroll, whether that is to do with legislation, guidance, or technology.

In their daily work, an employee in this occupation interacts with a wide range of internal and external stakeholders to deliver accurate and timely payroll. This will include their own line manager and team members, together with the workers and the clients of the organisation they are managing payroll for. They liaise, as needed, with software departments, or houses, where the payroll system is hosted externally.

In addition, they also interact with UK Government departments such as HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC), The Pensions Regulator (TPR) and the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP). The Payroll Assistant Manager may also, on occasion, need to contact devolved Government departments where appropriate, for example, the Department for the Economy (DfE) in Northern Ireland on employment rights issues, plus professional bodies.

The type and level of interactions will vary depending on organisation size and structure. For example, a small employer may have a Payroll Assistant Manager who is expected to deal with all interactions. A larger employer may expect only some interactions, for instance where external and managerial interaction is handled by a more senior person.

An employee in this occupation will be responsible for the timely and accurate payment of monies to workers, in accordance with contractual and statutory obligations. This will involve the critical and detailed evaluation of the requirements necessary to meet this overriding obligation, including resources and addressing deficiencies when identified. Complimentary to this is a Payroll Assistant Manager’s responsibility to lead tasks such as driving communication strategies and managing recruitment.

Where applicable, the Payroll Assistant Manager will be accountable for the performance of their team of Payroll Administrators. This includes not only the timeliness and accuracy of payments but also the development of the team. They will take key decisions for themselves on complex payroll calculations and will often have the final decision when guiding their team on payroll-related issues. The Payroll Assistant Manager may also be expected to make recommendations to their organisation or to their client, including the systems and processes used for payroll processing.

In a typical organisation, they will report to a senior leader and may be expected to deputise in their absence. Depending on that organisation, that senior leader may or may not be a payroll expert themselves. The variables affecting accurate payroll and its wider recognition are complex and often change. As a result, the Payroll Assistant Manager will be expected to contribute their technical understanding to wider discussions about complex payroll issues.

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: 5
  • Route: Legal, finance and accounting
  • Typical duration to gateway: 24 months
  • Typical EPA period: 4 months
  • Maximum funding: £11000
  • 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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