This apprenticeship has been retired

This is not the latest approved version of this apprenticeship. View the latest version

Overview of the role

Setting up and operating the payroll within the organisation in which they are employed or on behalf of another organisation.

Payroll administrator

Reference Number: ST0073

Details of standard

Role / Occupation:

Payroll Administrator


Typical job titles

Payroll Administrator / Payroll Junior / Payroll Assistant / Payroll Officer / Payroll Clerk / Payroll Advisor / Payroll Executive / Payroll Analyst / Reward Administrator / Bureau Administrator / HR and Payroll Officer


It is anticipated candidates will typically complete the apprenticeship within 18 to 24 months



Occupational Profile:

Payroll Administrators will, typically, have responsibility for setting up and operating the payroll within the organisation in which they are employed or on behalf of another organisation.  The role may be located within a business / organisation or in a payroll bureau, bookkeeping or accounting practice, or professional services company.  The job may sit within the HR or Finance function.

In medium to large organisations, a Payroll Administrator may work as part of a team, often reporting to a team leader, supervisor or manager.  In smaller organisations, a Payroll Administrator may be a stand-alone role with sole responsibility for the payroll function. Additionally, and depending on their role within the organisation, a Payroll Administrator may also have responsibility for the accurate and timely completion of routine and non-routine payroll-related calculations and other information. 

The main duties may typically include:

  • Gathering, creation and processing of payroll-related information to ensure employees are paid on time and accurately. This will be via payroll software, though it’s use must be accompanied by the ability to perform this manually
  • Compliance with legislative and contractual obligations
  • Internal and external reporting of payroll information to deadlines
  • Effective and appropriate communication with employees and relevant stakeholders
  • Working to relevant ethical and professional standards in a legislative and regulatory environment that is constantly changing

Competence within the payroll occupation is demonstrated in this Standard by the required Knowledge, Skills and Behaviours detailed below.

Entry Requirements:

Apprentices without Level 2 English and maths will need to achieve this level prior to taking End Point Assessment. For those with an education, health and care plan or a legacy statement, the apprenticeship’s English and maths minimum requirement is Entry Level 3.  British Sign Language qualification are an alternative to English qualifications for whom this is their primary language

Link to Professional Registration and Progression:

Upon successful completion of the apprenticeship apprentices may approach a range of Professional Bodies for recognition within the payroll sector. Due to the extensive number of Professional Bodies available no individual entity has been singled out by the Institute

Completion of the Payroll Administrator Apprenticeship may provide progression opportunities to more senior positions such as Team Leader, Supervisor or Manager within Payroll, or to move to related roles in departments such as HR, Finance or Pensions.

On completion of the Apprenticeship, a competent Payroll Administrator will meet the following requirements:


What is required for occupational competence?

Business and Customer Awareness

The payroll function is different depending on the sector in which the organisation is operating.  To create, process, validate and report payroll-related information, it is essential to know the environment in which the organisation exists.  For example, is the role in the private or public sector, is it a bureau-type operation, internal function etc.  

Understand and appreciate that this awareness information is crucial to recognising customer and supplier needs and obligations, both internal and external



The overall purpose of the function is to process payrolls on time and accurately.  This requires a wide overview of many different activities that will or may be encountered.  For example:

  • The legislative framework surrounding payroll, employment and pensions
  • Devolution in the UK
  • The different types of workers in the UK
  • The different types of pay that exist (gross, taxable, National Insurance applicable etc), statutory payments and deductions, Court Orders and the Construction Industry Scheme (CIS)
  • Real Time Information (RTI)
  • Benefits-in-Kind
  • Gender Pay Gap Reporting

Gain familiarity, knowledge and an understanding of these core elements


The Payroll and Pension professions are intrinsically linked.  Achieve an overview of the pension landscape as it affects payroll, for example the different types of schemes, the UK systems of tax relief and the relevance of the State Pension. 

Further, a broad understanding and appreciation of the structure of workplace pensions / Auto-Enrolment is fundamental.  This includes the key rules, roles and administration responsibilities as per guidance produced by The Pensions Regulator


 To ensure the organisation meets its payroll-related statutory and contractual obligations, understand the technical aspects of payroll for the accurate calculation of gross through to net pay.  This includes the calculation of the statutory payments and deductions, including voluntary deductions

Regulation and Compliance

Payroll is governed by regulation and compliance standards which must be applied in the workplace.  

A Payroll Administrator will understand how to apply the regulatory, compliance and legislative environment for the technical payroll aspects above.  This is in respect of the impact in their role for both the organisation and the payees, including data protection / confidentiality

Systems and processes


Payroll information is created, verified and reported via a combination of systems and processes, such as the payroll software itself, finance, HR and IT systems.  A working knowledge of these is fundamental to an administrator’s ability to perform their role at the workplace.

A Payroll Administrator will be proficient in the systems and processes that are applicable in their role, including at least one piece of computerised payroll software and spreadsheet package, such as Microsoft Excel


What is required for occupational competence?

Planning and Prioritisation

Proactively takes responsibility for planning, organising and prioritising their workload and time in order to successfully achieve results within deadlines. Positively performs in pressurised situations responding to changes where necessary. Recognises where issues need to be escalated


Using the Knowledge requirements in ‘Payroll’ as they apply at the workplace, correctly judges and interprets information to make effective decisions on data processing. This is with the overall aim of ensuring payroll deadlines are met. Assumes ownership through to resolution, escalating complex situations where appropriate

Uses Systems and Processes

Demonstrates the ability to identify and effectively use the appropriate workplace systems and processes required to complete tasks.  For example, to write letters, send and receive E-Mail, analyse, input and report on payroll-related data. Example systems may include MS Office, or equivalent, and the payroll software used in the workplace

Produces Quality and Accurate Information

Effectively apply Knowledge to consistently deliver high quality, accurate data and information in a timely fashion. Demonstrates the relevant use of agreed workplace systems and processes to deliver quality service to customers on a range of payroll-related queries and requirements

Team Working and  Collaboration

Within the organisation, recognises and demonstrates their own role within the team and the impact of their actions on others working in it. Consistently collaborates and supports colleagues within the team to achieve results whilst also being able to work independently. Builds and maintains positive relationships within their own team and across the organisation

Communication and Engagement

External to the organisation, recognises stakeholders and demonstrates appropriate professional communication and engagement methods. For example, this may include employees if the payroll function is performed in-house or may include clients if operating in a bureau-type operation. Further, this will include liaison with payroll representative bodies and stakeholders such as HMRC and The Pensions Regulator. Deal with queries in an efficient and professional manner, ensuring positive relationships are built and maintained


What is required for occupational competence?

Ethics and Integrity

Truthful, sincere and trustworthy in all actions and interactions, maintaining confidentiality at all times. Consistently respects others and meets the ethical requirements of the payroll profession


Listens, learns and adapts positively to changing priorities and working requirements. Accepts change and demonstrates the flexibility to maintain high professional standards in a changing environment

Professional Scepticism

Has the ability and confidence to use sound questioning and verification techniques on receipt of payroll-related information in the workplace.  This is with the overall purpose of being alert to any possible misstatement of factual information due to error or fraud

Proactivity and Enthusiasm

Displays energy and enthusiasm in performing the role, staying resilient under pressure. Takes responsibility for their work, accepting feedback and dealing positively with setbacks and challenges when they occur. Takes responsibility for their own personal development

Professional Development

Adopts a positive approach to maintaining and developing knowledge and skills through a range of methods, for example workplace learning, research and professional courses. Embraces opportunities for continuous professional development and actively records development in both their current role and throughout their career in the payroll profession


Review Date:

To ensure it continues to reflect employer requirements, the Standard will be reviewed after a maximum of three years or when significant change is required. 

Crown copyright © 2024. You may re-use this information (not including logos) free of charge in any format or medium, under the terms of the Open Government Licence. Visit

Status: Retired
Level: 3
Reference: ST0073
Version: 1.0
Date updated: 17/03/2023
Approved for delivery: 13 June 2018
Route: Legal, finance and accounting
Typical duration to gateway : 18 months (this does not include EPA period)
Maximum funding: £9000
LARS Code: 286
EQA Provider: Ofqual
Employers involved in creating the standard: Cintra HR and Payroll Services, J Murphy and Sons, Kate Upcraft Consultancy Ltd, Xylem Water Solutions UK Ltd, BHP LLP Chartered Accountants, Carl Markham, Strutt & Parker, Portsmouth City Council, Card Factory, SDWorx UK Ltd, Zinnia Payroll Consultants Limited, Impellam Group plc, Hotel Chocolat, Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, University Of Westminster, Solihull MBC, Howden Joinery Ltd, Anchor, i-Realise, Severn Trent plc, St Helens and Knowsley Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, Aster Group, Harrods, The London Golf Club PLC

Version log

Version Change detail Earliest start date Latest start date Latest end date
1.1 End-point assessment, standard and funding band revised. 17/03/2023 Not set Not set
1.0 Approved for delivery 13/06/2018 16/03/2023 Not set

Is this webpage useful?

Thank you for your feedback

Tell us about your experience