Pay Period Dates

Guidance on how to submit Pay Period dates for contributions

Written by George Cleal
Updated over a week ago
  • 💷 A pay period = the time between regular wages/salary e.g. 1st-31st October

  • 📁 Employers or payroll need to provide this to Penfold in correct format in a contributions file. See the “How to tell us your pay period dates & common errors” section below

  • ⚠️ If it’s not correct, there will be errors and the file won't be processed automatically

What is a Pay Period and what do I need to do?

  • A pay period is the time between regular wages or salary

    • e.g. 1st-31st October

  • It’s also called a payroll frequency, payroll period or payroll schedule

  • They’re usually either weekly, monthly, 4-weekly or fortnightly

  • Employers can choose to align them with the calendar or with tax months/weeks

    • e.g. Calendar monthly would be 1-31 October, tax monthly 6 October-5 November

  • When an employee is enrolled into a workplace pensions scheme, the employer has a duty to pay the agreed contributions every pay period

  • As a pension provider, Penfold needs to to track these contributions to ensure that they are invested on time and meet regulatory deadlines

  • When you send us contributions we need you to tell us the pay period dates that they relate to

How to tell us your pay period dates & common errors

  • Penfold require two fields which must be in all contributions files you submit to us:

    • PayPeriodStartDate

    • PayPeriodStartDate

  • We accept the following formats:

    • DD/MM/YYYY e.g. 31/10/2023

    • DD-MM-YYYY e.g. 31-10-2023

    • DD.MM.YYYY e.g. 31.10.2023

  • We do NOT accept the following - this will cause an “error” meaning the file cannot be processed automatically

    • Files missing the PayPeriodStartDate / PayPeriodStartDate columns

    • US date formats (MM/DD/YYYY) e.g. 10/31/2023

    • Files which contain more than one pay period. You must submit separate files

Example Acceptable Pay Period Formats

Pay Period

PayPeriodStartDate Column

PayPeriodEndDate Column

Calendar Month



Tax Month









How your payroll software can help

  1. Export & upload PAPDIS files for accurate processing Using PAPDIS csv files from your payroll software ensures the best PayPeriod handling. Most but not all payroll software allow PAPDIS export

  2. Set PayPeriod on your Payroll Software (if you haven’t already) Different software products offer varying approaches, with options to set tax months or select your preferred dates.

  3. Maintain Consistency It’s best practice to use a consistent date pattern, aligning PayPeriod dates with one month, one week, one fortnight, or one four-weekly period. Ensure each Pay Period Start Date flows seamlessly from the previous file's Pay Period End Date

For example, on a weekly payroll:

  • If your first contribution file has the pay period dates as 01/10/2023 to 07/10/2023 (equals 7 days)

  • Your next contribution file should then be 08/10/2023 to 14/10/2023 (equals 7 days, and 08/10/2023 is 1 day after the Pay Period End Date of Period 1), and so on

Late payment monitoring

  • The Pensions Regulator requires pension contributions to be paid to the pension provider no later than the 22nd of the month after they are deducted from pay

  • As a pension provider, Penfold has a duty to check payments are made on time, and to report breaches to The Pensions Regulator, which is one of the reasons we need to know which pay period your contributions relate to

  • Late payments can result in fines for employers, so it’s always best to ensure your contributions are on time

Relevant Pay Reference Period

  • In pension rules, the Relevant Pay Reference Period is defined as the one that the money is deducted from the employee’s pay

  • For example, if the employees are paid on 25th October for a monthly Pay Period, the Relevant Pay Reference Period is 01/10/2023 - 31/10/2023

  • Sometimes, pay days are after the end of pay period that the employee is paid for. For example, if they are paid on the 5th of November for the hours worked in October, the Relevant Pay Reference Period is 01/11/2023 - 30/11/2023 (because the money is taken from their pay in November and not October)

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