Wednesday, 20 February 2019 12:40

Farmers overpay rather than get it wrong

Written by 
Jules Benton. Jules Benton.

Some dairy farmers are overpaying staff because they fear being non-compliant, says Dairy Womens' Network chief executive Jules Benton.

She says feedback that payroll compliance issues could be a headache was one reason the DWN has partnered with payroll provider PaySauce to run a series of modules starting this month. 

“Payroll is challenging for any business, whether a commercial business or a SME (small to medium enterprise) in town or on farm.”

Benton says PaySauce chief executive Asantha Wijeyeratne is enthusiastic about payroll. 

“When he started focusing on the dairy sector his experience was that people were overpaying as opposed to underpaying because they were so scared of getting it wrong.

“I talked to a few farmers about that. They said to me ‘yep, we’d rather overpay than underpay and risk not being compliant’.”

She believes the dairy sector may not be alone in that.

“Payroll is confusing and I think PaySauce demystifies it with the software and making sure you are compliant with legislation.

“Farming is busy; we need to make sure people are getting paid correctly and on time, and that is easy to do,” Benton says. “The software takes the pain away in ensuring compliance with legislation.”

The beauty of the system is you don’t need to be ‘techno savvy’ and it can be used on-the-go, she says. 

PaySauce also plans to develop ‘dashboards’ for employees to set up personal budgets to help them with financial literacy. 

“That is a positive view -- helping employees set themselves up for the future whether they want to go contract milking or sharemilking or whatever. They can build budgets, all the information is feeding in, they can see what their Kiwisaver is, how many days leave they have and how much sick leave they have.”

Benton in her previous role knew Wijeyeratne for a number of years and when she became DWN chief executive last June year she contacted him.

“With new payday filing obligations coming on April 1, PaySauce and DWN recognised it was the perfect time to work together to develop a series of modules to help demystify payroll.” 

The aim is to provide farmers with all the tools and knowledge to quickly manage payroll obligations, freeing them to work on their core business.

Benton says time spent on administration such as payroll is time away from growing the business.

“The majority of our members are owners and/or employers and about 70% are actively on farms, so we’re a perfect test market.”

Wijeyeratne says the modules will be run around New Zealand. 

“Many PaySauce customers are in dairy... which provides us with a specialised knowledge of the unique challenges and issues they face. Through our partnership we want to help address these issues for the entire dairy community,” he says. 

The sessions will share best-practice guidelines to avoid errors and ensure compliance while minimising time spent on administration. Hands-on learning will be available at the sessions.

Following the module series, PaySauce will also provide DWN with online resources, content and features on common questions and issues members face. 

Benton says other DWN workshops starting early February will include farm accommodation.

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