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As a payroll clerk, you’ll ensure all payroll transactions are processed in an accurately and timely manner on a weekly, biweekly or monthly schedule. You’ll collect employee timesheets, vacation entitlement information, administer the payroll cycle, and provide pay-related information to employees.
With over 200 regulatory requirements to administer in Canada, being a payroll clerk can be a complex and demanding job. You could work in either a unionized or non-unionized environment. If you work in a unionized environment you’ll need to ensure payroll obligations also comply with the collective agreement.
As a payroll clerk, you spend most of your day working independently. You will routinely calculate pay and benefit entitlements for staff while ensuring accurate and timely payroll deadlines are met. You may be involved in reporting reconciliations, preparation of T4 tax slips, RRSP administration, taxable benefits, and payroll related remittances and filing. You report to a payroll supervisor or office manager.
Depending on your skills, experience, and location, payroll clerk salaries are will range from $36,000 to as high as $70,000 per year with the average salary in the field hovering at around $45,000. Payroll clerks will find they can earn wages at the higher end of the scale after several years of experience, especially in the largest metropolitan areas. You might find similar job titles offering higher salaries, such as payroll officer, payroll specialist, or pay advisor.
As a payroll clerk, you are involved in processing the full range of payroll requirements for salaried and/or hourly employees. You could be involved in any of the following tasks:
Virtually all industries hire payroll clerks to ensure their organizations meet their obligations to pay their employees properly, and on time. There are an estimated 50,000 payroll clerks working in Canada. As a result, you could find a payroll clerk job in almost any industry where there is a concentration of business. Opportunities exist throughout Canada, but you’ll find more payroll clerk jobs in larger metropolitan areas like Vancouver, Edmonton, Calgary, Toronto, Montréal, and Ottawa.
If you already have experience in an administrative or human resources role, and can demonstrate your understanding of payroll processes or benefits administration, you’ll be a good candidate for a payroll clerk job. In addition, you must have:
Many payroll clerk jobs are entry-level positions, so the minimum educational requirement is a high school graduation diploma. Some employees also have experience in general office and clerical duties before becoming payroll clerks.
Large employers with complex payroll systems might prefer candidates with a professional designation, such as Payroll Compliance Practitioner (PCP). Payroll seminars and certification courses are available from the Canadian Payroll Association.
To round out your skills and expand your options, you might consider a lateral move to a related clerical position, such as human resources clerk, accounting clerk, or benefits officer. To improve your chances of advancement, seek out new opportunities and enroll in certification courses to keep up with current developments in payroll administration and human resources.