Retail and hospitality workers say poor payroll processes impacts mental health

3 minutes length
Posted: 17th January 2022

Retail and hospitality workers across the UK are battling mental health issues with fears of being short-changed by bosses. One in 10 are concerned their salary won’t appear in their account on payday, according to research conducted by IRIS Software Group (IRIS) in partnership with YouGov. 

The same number – some 300,000 workers1 in hospitality alone – also don’t trust their employer will pay them the right amount each month. 

Monty, a restaurant worker and university student from Gloucestershire mentions, “In the run up to Christmas, I struggled to get clarification on whether or not I was going to get paid. Covid meant my shifts constantly changed, but systems didn’t allow management to easily manage my hours – I ended up disappearing from the payroll completely. It took several meetings with my manager to agree hours worked and money earned. It was extremely stressful balancing finances with university and I finally got paid on Christmas Eve.” 

For those working in health services, this rises to an alarming 16% – accounting for some 480,000 workers2 in the UK. In addition, some 69,000 teachers3 also don’t trust they will be paid the right salary on time each month.  

For many, personal finances have been seriously stretched over the last 18 months. An independent report from the University of Edinburgh found some NHS workers are heavily reliant on high-cost credit, with APR as high as 1,333%. The fear and stress of not being paid the right amount, or on time, is severely negatively impacting workers’ mental health and their ability to manage personal finances.  

Overwhelmingly, UK workers (77%) now expect to receive a digital payslip from their employer. Yet one in five UK workers said anxiety over poor communication around pay makes them feel like looking for a new job. This rises to 22% in the medical and health services, and hospitality and leisure sectors.  

“Aside from being the hardest hit by the pandemic, what these sectors all have in common is complex payroll requirements,” comments David Turner, Chief Marketing Officer at IRIS. “Retail and hospitality have a large proportion of gig-economy workers, and healthcare and education firms have to contend with complex and constantly evolving legislation. However, this is not a good enough excuse for poor payroll processes that keep thousands of UK workers awake at night.”  

“All sectors can and must do better. Especially if they’re to quell the rising storm of mass resignations. From improving employee communication to using software to reduce payroll errors and inefficiencies, businesses must act now to combat these stark figures as we kick off the new year.” 

The research comes as IRIS announces the launch of Staffology by IRIS (Staffology). A powerful cloud-based HR and integrated payroll solution for small businesses, it brings both heart and science to people management. Staffology is delivered rapidly out of the box, and set up within two days, enabling HR teams to create a better people experience, a positive culture and measure the impact it has on a business. 

In today’s hybrid world of work, Staffology gives businesses the platform to maintain control while being flexible and responsive to the needs of its people; helping get the small details right, and remain compliant by creating, updating and storing compliance information in one central location that enables teams to focus on the work they love and are valued for.  

1 Figure calculated as 10% (IRIS & YouGov study) of the total number of UK workers in hospitality 
2 Figure calculated as 16% (IRIS & YouGov study) of the total number of NHS employees and those employed in social care 
3 Figure calculated as 11% (IRIS & YouGov study) of the total number of teachers in the UK