National Avg. Salary

$42,130 More Salary Data →

Job Growth Rate

-3.4% More Growth Data →

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As a payroll clerk, you will make sure that your employer pays employees accurately and on time. Payroll clerks are responsible for maintaining time sheets and input employee-related information on a computer. Part of your job may also involve monitoring hourly wages and yearly salaries as well as overtime, vacation and sick days.

In offices that do not have automated timekeeping systems, working as a payroll clerk serves a vital function in terms of managing employee compensation and keeping workers happy.

Checkmark What is a Payroll Clerk?


A payroll clerk handles a wide variety of duties pertaining to timekeeping and payroll policies, among which the following are significant:

  • Manage periodic payments to employees in a timely manner including bonuses and commissions, via checks or direct deposits.
  • Incorporate accrued vacation time and overtime according to the hours worked, for those employees working in more than one department.
  • Maintain employee and computer records with current employee information, i.e. rates, residential address, W4 status, benefit status, telephone numbers, etc.
  • Resolve any complaints and questions that arise with regard to payroll from employees and upper management
  • Maintain comparison reports upon payroll transmission, comparing current vs. prior payroll for auditing salary payments to employees.

Day in the life

On a regular basis, a payroll clerk’s responsibilities include screening timecards efficiently for any calculation or coding errors. They also serve the vital function of calculating pay for employees keeping in mind subtraction of allotments like Federal and State taxes and contributions to retirement, insurance, and savings plans, from gross earnings. There is a rising trend of using computer applications to perform these calculations and flagging errors in the data when there are inconsistencies.

Your daily schedule might also include recording any updates in employees’ addresses; keeping track of when workers retire, resign, or transfer; and providing sound advice to employees on income tax withholding and other mandatory deductions.

It is important for payroll clerks to monitor any changes in tax and deduction laws, so they are aware of the most recent revisions in policies and regulations. Another monthly routine task is preparing and mailing out earnings and tax-withholding statements for all employees to assist them with preparation of income tax returns.

Work schedule and typical hours

Payroll clerks work in traditional indoor office settings. A standard week would be a 35- to 40-hour week; longer hours might be expected during peak periods. The pressure to meet certain deadlines on occasion, will be a part of the job description.

Growth of the job

Because all companies need to efficiently manage payroll functions for their own employees, the job outlook for payroll clerks is positive. Those who have completed a certification program and demonstrate an understanding of more complex payroll issues, will have a competitive edge in the job market versus other applicants. Payroll clerks can also find better opportunities by earning an associate degree or certificate.

In addition, experienced clerks leave for other forms of employment or reach the age retirement, leading to more openings in the market for such jobs. Salaries of payroll clerks can vary considerably depending on region of the country, size of city, and type and size of establishment. While most jobs are considered entry level, salaries are respectable compared to related work.

Typical employers

Payroll clerks are essential to all organizations and can be found in every industry, whether it be for bookkeeping, accounting, tax preparation and payroll services. For instance, payroll clerks are hired by private corporations, school districts, accounting firms, government agencies, employment services, manufacturing companies, healthcare providers, banks, and more.

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Clipboard How To Become a Payroll Clerk

Almost all payroll clerks are required to possess a high school diploma or, at the very least, the GED equivalent. You can also search for specialized programs in high schools, business schools, and community colleges that will arm you with the right skillset for a successful payroll clerk’s career and bring you a higher salary. Some colleges for instance, offer certificates in payroll practice and administration. Courses may cover topics like time reporting, employee benefits database management, payroll accounting, and income taxation.

As a payroll clerk, you will have to interact with varying levels of staff and be comfortable with performing multiple tasks without supervision. Therefore, having an advanced understanding of computer applications like Microsoft office Suite (Word, Excel, Outlook, PowerPoint) and strong communication or organizational skills is helpful. Since payroll clerks often handle sensitive information, you will also have to be dependable and strictly confidential in a fast-paced environment.

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Quick Summary

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Wallet Payroll Clerk Salary Data

We've provided you the following to learn more about this career. The salary and growth data on this page comes from recently published Bureau of Labor Statistics data while the recommendations and editorial content are based on our research.

National Annual Salary

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National Hourly Wage

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Average Average


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How do Payroll Clerk salaries stack up to other jobs across the country? Based on the latest jobs data nationwide, Payroll Clerk's can make an average annual salary of $42,130, or $20 per hour. This makes it an Above Average Salary. On the lower end, they can make $33,160 or $16 per hour, perhaps when just starting out or based on the state you live in.

Salary Rankings And Facts

  • #491 Nationally for All Careers

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Graduation Cap Programs and Degrees

Here are the most common degrees for becoming a Payroll Clerk. a High School Diploma is usually recommended and specifically a degree or coursework that prepares you for the particular field, see below.

Chart Highest Education Among Payroll Clerk

  • 0.2%   Doctorate
  • 2.3%   Masters
  • 18.3%   Bachelors
  • 14.3%   Associates
  • 37%   College
  • 25.7%   High School
  • 2.1%   Less than High School

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Chart Up Job Growth Projections and Forecast

2014 Total Jobs


2024 Est. Jobs


Job Growth Rate


Est. New Jobs


How does Payroll Clerk job growth stack up to other jobs across the country? By 2024, there will be a change of -5,900 jobs for a total of 166,900 people employed in the career nationwide. This is a -3.4% change in growth over the next ten years, giving the career a growth rate nationwide of Below Average.

Growth Rankings And Facts

  • #679 Nationally for All Careers

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Employee What Companies Employ The Most Payroll Clerks

Industry Current Jobs New Jobs Needed % Increase
Management of companies and enterprises 13,100 -800 -1%
Accounting, tax preparation, bookkeeping, and payroll services 10,000 -500 -1%
Local government, excluding education and hospitals 9,200 -600 -1%

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