What is decentralized payroll?

Decentralized payroll

Most companies that have all their employees working in the same location use a centralized payroll platform. This means everyone is paid using the same system on the same day, according to the organization’s policies. 

Decentralized payroll is a general term for a system in which employees are paid by their individual departments or, in the case of a global workforce, the entity that employs them on behalf of the parent organization. Instead of every employee receiving their paycheck from the same place on the same day, a decentralized payroll system involves outsourcing those processes to partners who take on the responsibility of paying workers, maintaining compliance, and managing taxes and other withholdings. 

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The benefits of decentralized payroll 

Improved worker relations

Decentralized payroll systems place workers closer to the people who issue their paychecks. For example, when a company contracts with a local professional employer organization or employer of record, that company handles payroll and serves as the human resources contact for employees. In the event of a pay-related issue, workers have a local contact who understands relevant laws, customs, and culture and has the ability to solve the problem more efficiently.

More accurate accounting

Decentralizing payroll eliminates the need to build a single payroll department staffed with people who understand the intricacies of international regulations. A decentralized payroll system that relies on local, in-country departments reduces the risk of errors or running afoul of the law. 

Lower resource burden

Decentralized systems eliminate the need to invest in new payroll tools to handle international payroll. Varying standards among companies mean that an organization’s existing approach to payroll may not be adequate to ensure compliance across borders. By assigning payroll responsibilities to local providers, there’s no need to spend time and money on complex international payroll.

Reduced risk

If something goes wrong with the centralized payroll system, the ripple effect will impact every worker in the organization, no matter their location. A decentralized system reduces the risk of a catastrophic failure, ensuring that employees outside the central system receive their pay on time. This approach both streamlines the recovery and protects the organization’s reputation.

Lower administrative burden

Decentralizing payroll means that the specific entity responsible for paying a worker is also responsible for managing administrative functions like maintaining demographic information or changes in worker status. For companies with international employees, this reduces the paperwork and administrative burden on a single payroll office and helps ensure better accuracy and responsiveness.

Disclaimer: This article and all information in it is provided for general informational purposes only. It does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal or tax advice. You should consult with a qualified legal or tax professional for advice regarding any legal or tax matter and prior to acting (or refraining from acting) on the basis of any information provided on this website.

About Oyster

Oyster is a global employment platform designed to enable visionary HR leaders to find, hire, pay, manage, develop, and take care of a thriving distributed workforce. Oyster lets growing companies give valued international team members the experience they deserve, without the usual headaches and expense.

Oyster enables hiring anywhere in the world—with reliable, compliant payroll, and great local benefits and perks.