4 minute read

Looking to move to digital payslips?

A payslip is a legal requirement and a highly confidential document containing sensitive employee personal data. Producing and distributing payslips is a resource-intensive task, which can be inefficient. Busy payroll teams can improve productivity, save time and reduce costs by using more electronic payslips.

One Datagraphic client, Dale Farm,  saves half a day each month by sending digital payslips through our secure portal, Epay.

This blog explores how a web-based payslip portal is more secure than emailing payslips.

Are digital payslips legal?

UK law does not define the format an employer has to use to provide payslips. Physical paper and electronic payslips are both recognised as approved formats.

It is up to the employer to send payslips as paper copies or display them online, but they must be provided on or before payday.

Digital payslips should meet the following criteria:

  • Accessibility: Digital payslips are available to view, download, and print if required.
  • Security: Securely store digital payslips to protect employees’ personal information.
  • Notification: Employees must be notified of any changes to the format or delivery of their payslips and can request paper copies if preferred.
  • Compliance: Digital payslips must comply with applicable laws and regulations.

84% of employers distribute payslips using a portal, whereas 33% email them directly to employees. Only 18% print and send paper payslips.

Is it safe to send payslips by email?

An email was never designed to be secure, and despite newer security measures, using it to send personal communications poses a risk of hacking.

As a result, email opens up your vulnerability to a data hack or breach. Even if an employee wants to receive documents by email, it is still your responsibility as a Data Controller to ensure it is delivered most securely.

Can you email payslips, P60s or P45s under GDPR?

Distributing payroll documents by email is not prohibited under the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), but it can be a sensitive area.

To comply with regulations, employers must ensure they have a lawful basis for processing and keeping the data secure.

If you choose to email payslips to employees, they need to be password protected. As a minimum, you must send the unique details directly to the employee’s chosen email address. Using the same password may compromise the employee’s data security: if it is easy to remember or used on another site, it becomes part of a data breach.

We therefore strongly advise against using email to distribute payslips. Instead, use a secure payroll portal, such as Epay, to make the process more efficient, save time and cost, and ensure pay information is delivered on time and securely.

Here’s why we think you should stop emailing payslips.

Reason 1: Emailed payslips aren’t 100% secure

The security level built into payslip software differs depending on the provider, from sending payslips as attachments to distributing password-protected PDFs or secure emails.

A password-protected PDF is more secure but requires a database of passwords, compromising security. Only the employee should know their password, which they must receive via email before or after the payslip is sent. This email will land in the same inbox as the epayslip, exposing the PDF to being accessed by anyone who gains access.

As the name suggests, secure email is the most advanced way to send payslips via email. Organisations can send electronic payslips as encrypted messages, but secure email software must be installed on the computers sending and receiving the document. This often restricts the online payslip’s flexibility due to licensing and access to technology.

Reason 2: Not everyone has an email address

Many employees may not have a company email address depending on your organisation’s profile. Employees can use a personal email address could, although this can cause additional concerns about who can access that account. Sometimes, an individual might not have an email address, so they can’t receive their payslips via email.

Reason 3: Access to email payslips can be restricted

Employees need regular access to that inbox on or before their payday to view a payslip delivered by email.

If an employee is on sick leave or holiday, they may have limited or no access to a work-based email account. This could prevent them from viewing their payslip and lead to increased enquiries for the payroll department. Sending copy payslips to alternative temporary addresses again implicates security.

Reason 4: Payslip history can be difficult to manage

If a user accidentally loses or deletes an email and attachment, it can be difficult to retrieve from email mailboxes. The result is often more copy document requests to the payroll department when employees need payslips as proof of income for loans, mortgage applications or earnings.

On the other hand, one secure payroll portal eliminates the need for copy payslip requests.

Reason 5: Payroll queries can increase

Sending payslips by email is more work for payroll managers. As just mentioned, employees often mislay email attachments and have to ask the payroll team to resend lost or missing emails, PDF temporary passwords and historical payslip copies.

Furthermore, updating email addresses or finding alternatives for those without email or those with limited email access creates more work.

Reason 6: What happens when an employee leaves?

How does an employee access the historical epayslips delivered to their work email address if they leave?

The colleague must print or forward copies to store at home or save copies somewhere. Some IT systems don’t allow employees to share or save secure attachments. An alternative would therefore create an additional manual workload.

A payslip portal makes documents available to an employee during and for a period after they leave to access and save their payslips.

Reason 7: A payslip layout can be more restrictive

Some payroll software platforms face limitations on how a paper payslip is replicated as an electronic document.

If your organisation uses multiple payroll systems, some employees may receive a different layout from their colleagues, impacting the overall employee experience.

If employees receive a new layout, payroll teams may need to direct additional resources to communicate a change.

Reason 8: You can’t control the actions of individuals

It doesn’t matter how often you remind employees about data security; they will still leave confidential documents on-screen. And it only takes seconds to forward a payslip or password at the touch of a button.

This list of reasons email is not a secure way to share payslips is not exhaustive. The issues presented do, however, present security considerations when using digital payslips.

We recommend organisations use a secure payslip portal such as Epay. By centralising digital payslips, employees have secure access to their documents 24/7/365 on any device.

Learn more on how to deliver epayslips securely.